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Striving for a cancer-free future

Identifying new treatments for platinum resistant Small Cell Lung Cancer

Lead researcher

Dr Daniel Gough, Prof D. Neil Watkins, Dr Kate Sutherland, A/Prof Jake Shortt

Hudson Institute of Medical Research

Tumour type:

Years funded

What is the project?

Although small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is often sensitive to platinum-based chemotherapy, a secondary drug-resistant recurrence occurs in almost all cases, leading to a dismal overall 5-year survival rate of less than 5%. We have undertaken screening and identified a drug combination that is effective against platinum resistant SCLC. Our research will define the efficacy of this drug combination in a pre-clinical animal model of platinum resistant SCLC that we developed.

What is the need?

Despite SCLC being the sixth leading cause of cancer mortality in Australia, no effective new therapy for SCLC has been identified in the last three decades. SCLC is a highly malignant neuroendocrine tumour that makes up 15−20% of the 9,700 Australians dying every year from lung cancer. Almost all patients rapidly become resistant to platinum-based front-line therapy, and the best second line therapy gives only a measly two month increase in median overall survival.

What are you trying to achieve?

The outcome of this study will show whether this new therapy, delivered either in combination or following front-line chemotherapy, will deliver durable responses against platinum resistant SCLC. The successful completion of this project is likely to lead to advanced clinical trials in SCLC patients.

Funding Body

Cancer Council Victoria Research Grant