Chilean researchers are working on a project that is not just unprecedented in the country, but in Latin America, the goal of which is to prevent lung cancer, which WHO data has classified as the most fatal in the world with 1.4 million deaths every year.
Specifically, the study is being undertaken by specialists at the Universidad de Chile Medical School Biomedical Sciences Institute with financing from InnovaChile, the institution in charge of promoting research and fostering creative proposals for the benefit of society.
The scientists, who also have the support of the San Borja Arriarán Hospital, the Antofagasta Hospital and Clínica Portada in that same city, as well as the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA), are focusing on obtaining the complete information of patients’ genomes to determine the specific zones that affect their respiratory systems.
To do so they are working with state-of-the-art technology that is not available in Latin America, but has a proven track record in Canada, the United States, Europe and Hong Kong.
The main problem for an effective lung cancer treatment is the difficulty detecting it in the preliminary phases of the disease. For this reason, the researchers intend to use the results of the work as a complement to the existing methods aimed at early detection of the disease in human beings.
Another of the goals is to increase patients’ survival to five years, to orient the treatment using genetic information and to incorporate a personalized treatment to reduce its cost and to improve patients’ quality of life.
The research, the duration of which has not yet been defined, began last September. The preliminary results have been positive as it has been possible to determine that chromosome segments related to specific genes are increased and reduced during the development of a tumor.
This is translated into a better estimate of individual risk, which would allow the regular control of people who are genetically susceptible to the development of this type of cancer.