A cure for melanoma? New drugs found successful
Survival rates for advanced melanoma poor; many diagnosed die within months
"Spectacular effects" have been reported after a select series of test subjects, all suffering from advanced forms of melanoma, were given new medication. It's hoped that the treatment will eventually be used to combat other forms of the condition.
The new treatment consists of two different types of drugs: ipilimumab, also known as ipi and anti-PD1s which break down the defenses of cancer cells and are still in clinical trials.
Prognosis for advanced melanoma currently is very poor. Patients who are diagnosed with the condition generally only have a few months to live.
"We're just at the beginning of a new era of cancer treatments using the immune system," Professor Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research U.K. says. "These drugs that can turn the body's own defenses against a tumor are starting to show real promise for melanoma and other types of cancer.
"It's only through research that we can gain the insights needed to develop new treatments for cancer patients."
The new treatment consists of two different types of drugs: ipilimumab, also known as ipi and anti-PD1s which break down the defenses of cancer cells and are still in clinical trials. Doctors say they can effectively reboot a patient's immune system by combining the two.
One in six patients are already being saved by the ground-breaking treatment, the European Cancer Congress has been told. This could mean more than half are cured of the deadly condition.
"Advanced] melanoma could become a curable disease for perhaps more than 50 percent of patients within five to 10 years," Professor Alexander Eggermont of the Institut Gustave Roussy in France says. "If I'd made this bizarre prediction five years ago, people would have said I was mad," he told reporters.
"But it now looks like we are going to have control of advanced melanoma for years, in a substantial proportion of patients."
Advanced melanoma is the condition where the disease has spread and can no longer be surgically removed. The Cancer Society warns patients that this form of skin cancer "can't be cured . Treatments are available that can shrink the melanoma or stop it growing. It may be possible to control it for quite a while."
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