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Drug May Protect Former Smokers from Cancer

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Researchers are studying whether a drug used to treat three other diseases could also protect former smokers from developing lung cancer, Reuters reported May 18.

Iloprost — a version of prostacyclin, which has been shown to prevent lung cancer in lab mice — has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat pulmonary hypertension, scleroderma, and the nerve condition Raynaud's phenomenon.

“Oral iloprost showed promise for preventing lung cancer in former, but not current, smokers in a phase II clinical trial,” recently reported researcher Robert Keith of the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center and colleagues.

The study found that former smokers treated with the drug were less likely to develop precancerous changes in their lungs.

The findings were reported at a recent meeting of the American Thoracic Society.

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