'A Canadian research team announced that it has found the reason for the appearance of pulmonary fibrosis in a number of lung cancer patients who underwent thoracic radiotherapy. They found a connection between genes on a certain chromosome and the development of lung injuries triggered by radiation.
The researchers were investigating chromosome 6, one of the 23 pairs of DNA molecules found in humans. This particular chromosome contained around six percent of the total genetic material in a cell, including more than 100 genes connected to the human immune system.
University of British Columbia, Okanagan (UBC Okanagan) researcher Christina Haston reported that chromosome 6 was somehow connected to the risk of radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Certain genetic material in the chromosome appeared to dictate whether or not the lung would sustain additional injuries after undergoing radiation therapy for lung cancer.
“Currently, 50 per cent of cancer patients in Canada receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment course,” Haston said. “In addition to effects on the tumour, up to 30 per cent of these patients develop side effects to this treatment, or injuries to non-tumour tissue.”
Your lungs could get scarred after getting irradiated or treated with chemicals
Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease caused by the scarring of injured lung tissue. The scar tissue that developed on the organ is thicker and stiffer than healthy tissue.'
Read more: Cancer treatments HARM patients: Radiotherapy can cause aggravated lung injury – study