FDA Approves Last-Chance Drug for Lung Cancer

Washington-AP _ A last-chance therapy -- for people with advanced lung cancer who have exhausted standard treatment -- now has federal approval.

The once-a-day pill called Iressa shrinks tumors in a fraction of those terminally ill patients.

It's a controversial drug: Iressa already is sold in Japan, where the health ministry linked it to 173 deaths from other lung disorders. In these conditions, the lungs become inflamed, scarred and stiff. But the US Food and Drug Administration says Iressa offers enough hope for patients dying of cancer to approve its sale.

FDA says the side effect continues to be studied, as does the drug's effectiveness. Researchers found it shrank tumors in about ten percent of patients. It's not yet known if the patients live longer.

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