Health Care

Breakthrough on cancer as treatment stops disease coming back

Breakthrough on cancer as treatment stops disease coming back

A study involving people with advanced stage lung cancer found it nearly doubled their survival time, while another revealed that immunotherapy treatment shrank tumours before surgery.

Another study, meanwhile, discovered that a combination of immunotherapy drugs, namely Opdivo and Yervoy by Bristol-Myers Squibb, functioned better than chemotherapy in delaying the worsening of cancer in advanced lung cancer patients whose tumors contain many gene flaws.

Oncologists in the USA at Johns Hopkins University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre administered the immunotherapy drug nivolumab over several weeks to 21 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer prior to surgery.

At one year, 43% percent of patients on the combination therapy had not seen any progression of their cancer, compared to 13% of those with chemotherapy. The five-year USA survival rate for patients diagnosed with any stage of lung cancer is estimated to be only 18%.

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The immunotherapy treatments only worked for about half of the patients involved in the studies. The combination treatment is a significant improvement, she said. The most common issues in both groups were nausea, anemia and fatigue.

"It's pretty awesome times to have so many positive studies at once", added Matthew Hellmann, a lung cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who led one of the studies. "It's already been 21 months", Dr. Gomez said.

The World Health Organization estimated that 1.69 million people died of lung cancer in 2015.

The study, a phase III clinical trial testing treatment effectiveness and side effects, included 616 patients at 118 medical facilities around the globe. On top of that, it would be considered a new standard as a first line of care in lung cancer and longer overall survival rates.

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"I think most of us in the field would be quite hesitant to give up on PD-L1, or some [other] biomarker, because clearly not all patients are benefiting" from the combination therapy, Gandhi says.

Monday at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago.

In other words, once a cancer begins to develop, scientists look for strategic points where they can intervene and stop its growth.

Our goal is to extend the lives of patients with lung cancer, and the unambiguous survival findings from KEYNOTE-189 showing the risk of death was reduced by half in the KEYTRUDA arm are important not only for patients but also for the medical community. "Metastatic" means the cancer has spread beyond its original site, and "nonsquamous" means the cancer does not start in a type of cell in the lungs called squamous cells. But those drugs and rival immunotherapies from Roche and AstraZeneca are jockeying for pieces of the largest lung cancer market. When Merck issued its preliminary 2018 full-year worldwide sales target of $41.2 billion to $42.7 billion, these latest results had not been shown in as much detail as this much more superior.

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