- Study shows new treatment triggers body’s immune system to attack cancer cells
- Trials on head and neck patients showed drug reduced tumor size
- The latest research, conducted by scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research in London and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, involved nearly 1,000 patients.
A new cancer treatment may destroy tumors in patients who have been diagnosed with an incurable disease, a study has found.
Researchers say a combination of immunotherapy drugs triggers the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells and results in a ‘positive propensity to exist’.
During a trial on patients with head and neck cancer, they found that the drug caused a reduction in tumor size. In some cases, the tumors disappeared.
The study, conducted by scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, involved nearly 1,000 patients.
A study by experts from the Institute of Cancer Research (pictured) and the Royal Marsden Trust found that a new cancer treatment can destroy tumors in patients who have an incurable disease.
Standard ‘extreme’ treatment consists of an aggressive cocktail of two chemotherapy drugs and a targeted antibody treatment.
It comes with side effects like nausea, pain, loss of appetite and shortness of breath.
But prescribing a mixture of the two immunotherapies instead helped patients live an average of three months longer. The combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab also produced fewer side effects.
One patient, who was expected to die four years earlier, found that his tumor had ‘completely disappeared’ just a few weeks after joining the trial.
The 77-year-old grandfather is now cancer free and spent the last week on a cruise with his wife.
Experts found that prescribing a mixture of the two immunotherapies helped patients survive an average of three months longer than standard treatment with chemotherapy and antibody treatment.
ICR Chief Executive Professor Christian Helin said: ‘These are promising results and demonstrate how we can better select patients who are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy treatment.’
The new treatment is specifically designed for people with head and neck cancer and who have a certain ‘immune marker’ indicating they would benefit from immunotherapy.
The findings were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology Virtual Congress.