DOCTORS in Southampton have discovered a new breakthrough in lung cancer treatment.

A study led by city clinicians has found a drug that can significantly slow down progression of terminal cancer by ‘blocking’ disease-triggering molecules in the lung.

The drug, Nintedanib, halves the annual decline in breathing capacity in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a condition which causes inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue and leaves sufferers with an average life expectancy of between three and five years.

The studies, led by Professor Luca Richeldi, a consultant in respiratory medicine at Southampton General Hospital, involved 1,066 patients from 205 centres in 24 countries.

He said: “These are exciting results and mean Nintedanib has the potential to offer patients a new direction in treating this aggressive disease.”