Lung cancer vaccines:

Lung cancer is cancer that begins in
the lungs, the two organs found in the
chest that help you breathe.

The lungs are made up of areas called
lobes. The right lung has three lobes;
the left lung has two, so there's room
for the heart. When you breathe, air
goes through your nose, down your
windpipe (trachea), and into the lungs
where it spreads through tubes called
bronchi. Most lung cancer begins in
the cells that line these tubes.

There are two main types of lung

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is
the most common type of lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer makes up about
20% of all lung cancer cases.

Lucanix (Belagenpumatucel-L), is
produced by a San Diego-based
biopharmaceutical company, NovaRx

Lucanix is intended to fight non-small
cell lung cancer  (NSCLC) by
interfering with a protein called
transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-
beta). TGF-beta is often elevated in
patients with NSCLC, which causes the
immune system to become suppressed
and not attack the cancer. Lucanix is
made up of four types of (dead) lung
cancer cells that have been genetically
modified to inhibit the secretion of TGF-
beta, ideally increasing the ability of
the patient’s body to identify the
cancer as an “invader” and fight it off.
In phase II clinical trials, patients with
advanced NSCLC lived an average of
16 months longer with Lucanix. The
NovaRx Corporation has become the
first to demonstrate that inhibiting TGF-
beta can increase the body’s immune
response to a tumor, which may result
in longer survival.
This approach could potentially be
applied to other cancers. Although no
unusual negative side effects have
been reported, caution must be used;
TGF-beta has other key roles in the
body (such as preventing cells from
growing out of control), and care must
be taken to ensure that other functions
are not undesirably disrupted.

Lucanix is just starting phase III clinical
trials for treating non-small cell lung
While Lucanix is not a cancer cure, it
may be a relatively significant step in
the right direction for improving the
lives of patients with lung cancer.

Merck KGaA got the green light from
the FDA to restart its late-stage lung
cancer program for its therapeutic
vaccine Stimuvax, which had been
halted after a patient in a multiple
myeloma trial contracted encephalitis
in March.

Transgene's TG4010 compound
targets lung tumors;