Immunotherapy a new weapon against advanced cancer

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London, June 2 (IANS) In what could completely alter the course of cancer treatment globally, a combination of immunotherapy — helping the body’s own defences to fight cancer cells — drugs has shown impressive results for terminally-ill melanoma patients in Britain.

According to a Guardian report, half of the terminally-ill patients in the British trial responded to ipilimumab, a drug licensed four years ago, combined with the new drug nivolumab.

The combination of the two drugs shrank the tumours in 58 percent of patients. Scientists from Royal Marsden hospital in London that performed the trials hope that the tumours may finally disappear altogether.

Results from the trial of 945 patients were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Immunotherapy is the most exciting development in cancer treatment in years.

According to experts, the results of a trial involving a combination of two new immunotherapy drugs for melanoma (skin cancer) patients are spectacular.

Immunotherapy could offer hope to people with cancers that are otherwise difficult to treat.

Researchers, however, are yet to study the long-term survival rates for immunotherapy.

Melanoma, though a skin cancer, can spread to the lungs, liver, bone, lymph nodes and brain.

The research work is being presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago this week.

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