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Doctors herald lung cancer breakthrough with new drugs

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/19/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Miracle drug 'Nivolumab' found to have remarkable success

A diagnosis of lung cancer today is tantamount to a death sentence. Cancerous cells found in the lungs quickly spread to the brain, liver and kidneys, and those who are diagnosed usually die within months. There is hope: a new miracle drug, "nivolumab," has recently reported a high success rate.

Scientists are reporting incredible success treating advanced lung cancer with drugs such as nivolumab.

Scientists are reporting incredible success treating advanced lung cancer with drugs such as nivolumab.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/19/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Lung cancer, nivolumab, success, trials


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists say that new drugs have cleared tumors that have spread throughout lung cancer patients' whole bodies. Some researchers are even talking of the new immunotherapy drugs effectively curing patients of the disease.

Scientists are reporting incredible success treating advanced lung cancer with drugs such as nivolumab.

Starvation takes no vacation --

"Stellar" trial results for the antibody drug will be presented at the world's biggest cancer conference, for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in Chicago. According to researchers, a quarter of 129 U.S. patients with advanced lung cancer have survived at least two years after starting nivolumab.

"You would expect patients in that group to survive a few months, if you're lucky. So to get 24 per cent living two years is extraordinary," Dr. Mick Peake of Glenfield Hospital in Leicester said.

One test subject, a man in his forties had lung cancer which had spread to his liver, brain, bones and adrenal glands, he said. "By the time it's spread that far, you don't expect patients to last more than a couple of months. But in a recent scan, his doctor could not find any evidence of residual disease."

Peake said it was also remarkable that so many were responding to this treatment. Of those treated with the optimum dose, 45 percent were alive after two years.

"In any trial you get the odd patient who does very well, but this is an order of magnitude above that."

One of a new class of drugs, nivolumab is among what is term anti-PD1s and anti-PDL1s, which help the immune system "see" that tumors are deadly foes.

"Tumors develop a 'cloak,' like a 'Star Wars' force field, around themselves. This stops the immune system attacking them," Dr. Peake says.

"These drugs take that force field away and allow the body's immune response to fight the tumor. The beauty is we do not have the adverse side effects of conventional treatment."

Professor Dean Fennell, who has been treating British patients with a similar drug, MK3475, said, "This is an enormous deal. There are patients on treatment who've been going an incredibly long time."

Dr. Julie Brahmer of John Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Baltimore, who has helped spearhead U.S. nivolumab trials, said it was "a little early" to call it a cure. But she added: "That's what our hope is."

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