Scientists believe that they are one step away from the most powerful weapon against cancer since the discovery of chemotherapy.
The solution in the fight against this effective killer may be – immunotherapy. These are medicines which help the body to strengthen the immune system and attack the cancer cells and this is how it fights against the disease.
Two separate clinical studies in different types of advanced carcinomas showed that medicines which strengthen the immune system may be from key importance in the process of destroying the tumor cells.
A clinical study which included 260 patients with lung cancer in the final stage, who took the medicine nivolumab in average lived 3.2 months longer.
In the past 20 years this is the biggest step when it comes to treating lung cancer, said Dr. Julie Brammer who lead this study.
In another study where 945 patients with melanoma took part i.e. skin cancer and took the medicine nivolumab in combination with ipilimumab experienced stagnation in the disease and lived 11.5 months longer but only when they took both medicines.
It is one of the worst forms of carcinoma. Few years ago the average estimation for life which is left was maximum 7 months.
The immune system in fact has several mechanisms for recognizing danger and blocking the cells which attack. However, in the carcinoma despite that they are so deadly, the problem is that the cancer cells may “camouflage” so the immune system doesn’t recognize them as dangerous.
One of the greatest challenges which scientists have right now is the fact that some patients react on immunotherapy, while others don’t have any reaction or condition changes. But, experts claim that immunotherapy might replace chemotherapy in the next 5 years, especially in the cases of lung and melanoma cancer.
Results from both researches are shown at Sunday on the conference of US oncology company in Philadelphia, writes Independent.