"I haven't seen anything this good" for many years for treating lung cancer, he said. "I'd be very surprised if there wasn't some benefit" on survival, said Herbst, who has consulted for the drug's maker.
Other doctors, including Pfizer's cancer drug development chief, Dr. Mace Rothenberg, noted progress on new diagnostic tests to predict which drugs will work for which patients. Cost, time and difficulty have kept many of them from being practical in everyday settings for cancer patients, but "a lot of these barriers are falling," Rothenberg said.
"Every time we say 'this technology is 5 to 10 years off, we've been wrong" and progress has come sooner, he said.
Cancer conference: http://www.cancer.net
American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org
Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP
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