Experts believe that they are a step away from the most powerful weapon against cancer since the discovery of chemotherapy.
The solution in the fight against this efficient killer may be – immunotherapy. It’s about drugs that help the body to strengthen the immune system and attack the cancer cells, and also to fight against the disease.
Two separate clinical trials in different types of cancers have shown that the improved drugs that enhance immunity can be the key in the process of destroying the tumor cells.
In the clinical study that involved 260 patients with lung cancer in the final stage, which took nivolumab drug lived an average 3.2 months longer.
– In 20 years this is one of the biggest gaps when it comes to lung cancer, etc. said. Julie Brammer, the leading scientist of this study.
In other studies in which 945 patients participated with melanoma, or skin cancer who took the drug nivolumab in combination with ipilimumab, among them the disease has stagnated, and lived 11.5 months longer, but only when they consumed both drugs.
Otherwise, it is one of the most difficult forms of cancer. Until a few years, the average remaining life assessment was a maximum of seven months.
The immune system actually has several mechanisms to identify hazards and block cells that need to be attacked. However, in cancer because they are so lethal, the problem is that cancer cells can “camouflage”, so the immune system does not recognize them as harmful.
One of the biggest challenges that the scientists have now is the fact that some patients respond to immunotherapy, while others will not react or change the situation. But experts argue that immunotherapy could replace chemotherapy in the next five years, especially in lung cancer and melanoma.
The results of both studies were presented at a conference of the American cancer Society in Philadelphia, writes Independent.