OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Cancer treatment can often cause a miserable array of side effects, but researchers at OU are hoping to change that.

A new lung cancer treatment study could lead to a more tolerable therapeutics for all forms of the deadly disease.

“We want to add a good quality of life to the patients,” said Rajagopal Ramesh, Ph.D. 

Ramesh and his team of researchers at the Stephenson Cancer Center have been focused on lung cancer treatment for nearly two decades.

The deadly disease can be tough to beat – particularly at stages 3 or 4, when the five-year survival rate is less than 18%.

“My lab has been looking at various treatment strategies because we know no matter drugs we develop, these cancer cells can escape,” Ramesh said. 

In a new study, supported in part by the National Cancer Institute, he’s focusing on tiny cells called “exosomes” – so small they can pass through blood vessels traditional drugs cannot.

The research aims to find a way for them to target treatment to cancerous cells only.

“Because we all know there’s often chemotherapy-related side effects, which is not good,” said Ramesh. 

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Ramesh hopes if this study proves successful, it can be applied to other types of cancers in the future.

“Of course, there might be some challenges because not every cancer is the same,” Ramesh said. “It’s not like a one-size-fits-all.”

The research is still in the early stages. The goal is to prove it works in the next couple of years then move it to large-scale production and clinical testing.