Nightly News | August 30, 2011
>>> we're back with news about the biggest cancer killer of all. the lung cancer . the news is about a new kind of treatment called targeted therapy. drugs that don't help all patients but the ones they do help they help a lot. the fda recently approved such a drug for lung cancer and our chief giants correspondent, robert bazell has details tonight.
>> reporter: beverly never smoked cigarettes. but not long ago she was near death from stage four lung cancer until she started taking this new medication.
>> i've seen two grandchildren. two of my kids get married. you can't ask for more this is a specific drug, they tend to be people that are nonsmokers but there's so much lung cancer in the u.s., that 10,000 patients a year are diagnosed with this kind. a simple lab test could reveal which patients might benefit. these scans show the lungs of a patient before treatment. the white area is the cannes. after the treatment, the cancer is completely gone.
>> reporter: many times these pills can cause a very rapid improvement in their symptoms. sometimes even within a few days of starting on the pills.
>> she now walks two miles a day and regularly goes to the gym.
>> for someone who's been on chemo and i am no longer on chemo, this is a miracle.
>> most experts would agree, but to be clear, this is not a cure. what's given many patients in the clinical trials, several good years, eventually it stops working. and drugmaker pfizer is charging more than $115,000 a year for the drug. progress in cancer, now routinely coming with big price tags. robert bazell , nbc news, new york.