News in brief: Lung Foundation launches research fund; Single-inhaler triple therapy in real-world COPD study; ctDNA finds more targetable NSCLC mutations than biopsy

Wednesday, 28 Apr 2021

Research will continue to give hope in lung disease

Lung Foundation Australia has launched its Hope Research Fund with a goal to raise $50 million by 2030 for research into lung cancer and other lung disease.

CEO Mark Brooke said government research investment was lagging behind the total burden of lung disease meaning other sources of funding were required to make up the gap.

And with $8 million already raised, he was optimistic the Hope Research Fund would become one of the largest non-government research funds.

“Australia’s focus on lung health has never been more attuned following the devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, both of which made Australians pay attention to their lungs,” he said.

Lung Foundation Australia Chair, Professor Christine Jenkins said the organisation had already invested nearly $41m into research over the last 30 years.

“But life-changing discoveries take time and more investment is desperately needed,” she said.

Gifts left in wills are one of the ways to contribute to the Hope Research Fund.

Single-inhaler triple therapy safe and effective in real-world COPD study

The use of a single-inhaler regimen with extrafine beclometasone, formoterol, and glycopyrronium (BDP/FF/G) was tolerable and effective in a year-long real-world study of patients with COPD in Austria.

Previous research including the UK-led TRILOGY trial has shown the triple-therapy inhaler to be effective, but data have been lacking on its use outside of the rigorous controlled trial setting.

In the new study, published in Respiratory Medicine, a total of 265 patients with moderate to very severe airflow limitation and persistent symptoms were included. After 52 weeks of treatment with single-inhaler BDP/FF/G, they had a significant improvement in lung function and in symptoms, with a clinically relevant improvement in CAT score.

After the 52-week study period, 93.7% of the cohort continued the treatment. There were 21 adverse events reported; five of these were serious, but none were deemed drug related.

Circulating tumour DNA finds more targetable NSCLC mutations than biopsy

Tissue biopsies missed more targetable mutations than analysis of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, according to a new study, highlighting how the two might work together to improve outcomes.

“ctDNA captured clinically useful, actionable, and dynamic information by identifying targetable mutations regardless of patients’ clinical status,” wrote study authors in Chest.

Their retrospective analysis detected a total of 1,688 somatic mutations in 473 ctDNA samples from 370 patients with NSCLC. A total of 177 samples had at least one actionable mutation.

They also found that low cumulative percent ctDNA levels were associated with longer progression-free survival, and it was feasible to monitor treatment response and tumour evolution over time in repeated ctDNA samples. Overall, more mutations in targetable genes were found in ctDNA than were found in tissue biopsies.

“ctDNA can provide complementary information to tissue biopsies in cancer management and surveillance, and offer additional targetable opportunities beyond when tissue biopsies are not attainable,” the authors concluded.

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