Immunotherapy shows lung cancer promise

Studies find new ways to use immune-boosting lung cancer drugs

Recalling a patient with advanced lung cancer whose tumor disappeared and has not grown back after finishing treatment 24 months ago, Gomez said, "I'm now becoming much more optimistic that if we can really find a way to flawless this treatment and to really figure out who are the patients who do the best and why that we may be able to do something like get rid of lung cancer for at least some patients".

In one, scientists at New York University conducted a study involving more than 600 patients with advanced lung cancer.

The findings represent another step forward for immunotherapy, which has been making steady gains against a number of different cancers. Checkpoint inhibitors are one of two main types of immunotherapy. He was not involved in the pembrolizumab study.

In a second study, doctors found that giving Opdivo to advanced lung cancer patients before surgery helped shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.

Pembrolizumab, sold under the brand name Keytruda, is an FDA-approved drug sold by a subsidiary of Merck & Company, Inc. that sponsored this study. The chemotherapy was a drug called pemetrexed, plus either carboplatin or cisplatin. "A matter of months, not years", she said.

The series of studies was yesterday presented at the American Association of Cancer Research in Chicago. If you want to see long-term survival, you've got to give immunotherapy as soon as possible. "Chemotherapy has limitations. Immunotherapy has the ability to cure".

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The Framework is the result of a four-year collaborative process involving cancer specialists and other health professionals, health service providers and consumers across Australia. "We have patients on these immunotherapies alive more than eight years".

After 18 months, recurrence-free survival was 73 per cent compared to the clinical average of around 50 per cent.

Herbst offered several theories about why chemotherapy and immunotherapy could work well together. The two drugs help jump-start the immune system to attack cancer.

For non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer patients, median survival with chemotherapy alone is somewhere around 11 or 12 months, he said. But that is advance in this cancer. Their tumors lacked certain mutations that would have made them eligible for other, "targeted" treatments.

But patients in the immunotherapy group had more kidney problems, more immune-related adverse events and were more likely to stop treatment because of side effects.

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