Saturday, December 03, 2016
Stay connected with us

Home > Drugs/Therapy

Immunotherapy Cancer Drug Better Than Chemotherapy? New Study Out

Update Date: Oct 10, 2016 11:30 AM EDT
Immunotherapy Cancer Drug
Bottles of prescription medicines stand on reading material in the Manhattan apartment of Youssef Cohen, who has an incurable cancer called mesothelioma on March 16, 2016 in New York City. Cohen, 68, is advocating for the right to choose how and when he will die, proposed in New York State's End of Life Options Act, currently in front of the state legislature. (Photo : John Moore/Getty Images)

Could immunotherapy cancer drug be the cure every cancer patient has been waiting for all this time?

For years now, scientists and pharmaceutical companies have been trying to find the right medicine that might treat cancer, especially that more and more people have been affected by the disease.

In a new study, it appeared that patients who have been given immunotherapy cancer drug have recorded better result compared to those who have undergone chemotherapy.

According to BBC, the research, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the European Cancer Congress, was so effective that it was regarded as a "game changer." 

 While it was noted that advanced head and neck cancer has "very poor survival rates," the use of immunotherapy drug nivolumab has reportedly lengthened the patient's life compared to simply relying on chemotherapy.

Among the 350 patients under study, the report disclosed that 36 percent of them were given immunotherapy cancer drug nivolumab, while 17 percent received chemotherapy alone. Of the two groups, the first one "were alive after one year."

BBC also reported that aside from extending the life of the patients, the immunotherapy cancer drug also improved their immune system to destroy the cancer cells and fewer side effects were observed.

Sixty-four-year-old Peter Waite, a renal cancer patient of Hertfordshire, shared his journey.

"I feel a bit of a fraud having terminal cancer because I haven't been in pain at all," he said.

Waite began his combined immunotherapy treatment, which used nivolumab and ipilimumab, in early 2015. This was done for a clinical study after doctors found out that following his recovery from kidney and lung cancer, another form of the disease hit him.

"There's been nothing negative about it for me and I feel a bit embarrassed really," the immunotherapy cancer drug beneficiary added.

As a result of his treatment, one of his tumours has shrunk, while the two others have no growth at all.

"I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to go on the trial," he said.

As explained by Cancer.net, immunotherapy or biologic therapy works by boosting the patient's immune system or "natural defenses to fight the cancer." 

Get the Most Popular Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
© 2016 Counsel & Heal All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation