A combination of two new cancer drugs shrinks tumors in two thirds of patients – says studyChris Middlebrooks (Author) Published Date : Jun 02, 2015 15:47 IST
Two new cancer drugs administered in concert has been seen to have the ability to shrink tumors in about two thirds of people suffering from advanced stage melanoma, says a new study. However, the side effects associated with this dual treatment are amplified. Some 945 patients were enrolled for the trial from as many as 137 sites across the globe and it was found that treating cancer with ipilimumab and nivolumab stopped the advance for nearly a year in over half the cases according to reports that cited a presentation this week end by UK doctors at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual conference.
Both the new drugs are designed to activate the natural defense in the body in its fight against cancer. While the body s immune system is generally reckoned as a potent agent in combating diseases, certain built-in brakes prevent the body from launching an attack against its own tissue and cancers use this loophole to keep growing without restraint. The new drugs turn these brakes off.
58% patients participating in the study taking both the new drugs experienced at least a 33% shrinkage in their tumor over nearly an year. Yet, the most important information how long the patients treated with the combination of drugs survived is still not known and could possibly remain so for some time to come.
Among different forms of cancer, skin cancer occupies a higher percentage according to the American Cancer Society, and though melanoma accounts for less than 2% of all skin cancers it is the major cause of deaths due to skin cancer. According to predictions by the ACS, nearly 10,000 Americans are likely to die due to skin cancer in 2015 alone.
According to senior cancer doctors, the new treatment which is known as immunotherapy can radically change the standards for treatment of cancer, and can spare some of the patients at least, from the toxic effects of chemotherapy.
The chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Centre, Roy Herbst described the string of results so far obtained as spectacular . He added that he thought this to be huge and we are seeing a paradigm shift in the way oncology is being treated. He also said that he saw the new method work in nearly every type of cancer though it worked best on the hardest variants of cancer that were difficult to treat.
He concluded saying that there is a potential for long term survival and effective cure.
A combination of two new cancer drugs shrinks tumors in two thirds of patients – says study