A study designed and led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York of a new immunotherapy cancer treatment is being hailed by researchers at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology as a potent new weapon in the fight against cancer. What is this revolutionary treatment? The body’s own immune system. Those involved in the study are divided as to just how excited to get over the results, however, and Issels® wants to give you the inside scoop…
Cancer, unlike most other diseases, involves the body’s own immune cells gone rogue. Unrecognized as a threat, the immune system cannot target the dangerous cells. The therapy in question, however, can switch the body’s immune system back on: a combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab, created by Bristol-Myers Squibb, who sponsored the study.
How effective is it?
It halted the advancement of skin cancer melanoma for nearly a year in 58% of subjects. It has also shown promise in other hard to treat cancers, such as lung cancer and those that metastasize.
Why everyone is not 100% sold…
Thirty-six percent of patients involved in the study had to stop treatment due to side effects – stomach inflammation and bowel issues serious enough to require hospitalization. This led experts to caution treatment benefits may not offset the risks for some patients. Researchers also have yet to study the long-term survival rates for the immunotherapy, therefore physicians and patients have been advised to weigh these considerations carefully as studies of the combination continue.