FDA Approves Drug for Glowing Lung Cancer

  • 2 Min To Read
  • a year ago

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the injectable drug Cytalux (also known as pafolacianine) for use in lung cancer surgery. Cytalux binds to specific proteins on lung cancer cells, making them glow under infrared light and enabling surgeons to detect small clusters of tumor cells that would have otherwise been missed.

This approval follows a successful clinical trial led by Sunil Singhal, MD, Professor in Surgical Research and director of the Center for Precision Surgery at Penn Medicine. The trial found that the imaging agent helped surgeons detect cancerous cells in over 50% of cases.

The drug was developed at Purdue University and is marketed by On Target Laboratories. It was also approved last year for use in ovarian cancer surgery, where it has been similarly successful in detecting tumor cells which would have been missed with conventional methods.

The availability of this imaging agent has the potential to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients, allowing surgeons to perform less invasive operations, identify additional cancer, and more accurately detect any remaining cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 130,000 Americans die from the disease annually and only 26% of people with the most common type – non-small cell lung cancer – survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

The approval of Cytalux for use in lung cancer surgery is an important step in the fight against this deadly disease. It is hoped that the improved accuracy of surgery and the ability to identify additional cancer on the spot will help to reduce reoperation or additional therapy and improve the long-term prospects of those affected.


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