Promising Hope For Lung Cancer Patients

Promising Hope For Lung Cancer Patients

Keytruda was approved a year ago as an initial treatment with chemo for the most common form of advanced lung cancer, but doctors have been leery to use it because that was based on a small study that did not show whether it prolongs life.

"We were able to achieve this study's promising results in a relatively rapid time-frame because of the collaboration made possible by our Stand Up To Cancer-Cancer Research Cancer Institute Immunology Dream Team grant", said senior author of the study Drew Pardoll, MD, PhD, director of Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and director of Cancer Immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The new study, led by Dr. Leena Gandhi of NYU's Perlmutter Cancer Center, gives that proof. However, the SU2C-CRI Dream Team researchers hypothesized that leaving the tumor in place during initial treatment with immunotherapy would turn it into an "auto-vaccine" resulting in the activation of tumor-specific T cells that would then circulate through the body and find distant sites of micrometastases, thereby preventing relapse post-surgery which can happen to at least one-half of lung cancer patients who undergo surgery.

The immune therapy treatments worked for only about half of the patients in the study.

After a median follow-up of 12 months, three-quarters of the patients who underwent surgical resection were alive and recurrence-free.

Dr. Jorge Gomez, a volunteer spokesperson for the American Lung Association and a medical oncologist and director of thoracic oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY, explained that "about 220,000 patients are diagnosed with lung cancer a year in the United States".

Tuesday is set to improve after yesterday's wild weather
This system won't exit until early next week so we will be keeping a chance of rain in our forecast through next Monday . Rain chances will hold near 0% through the weekend before growing to near 30% next Monday and Tuesday .

Results were discussed Monday at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Chicago and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Keytruda, Yervoy and Opdivo are called checkpoint inhibitors.

Side effects were nearly universal - 99.8 percent of patients who received Keytruda and chemotherapy experienced them. Those not given Keytruda were allowed to switch to it if their cancer worsened. More research is needed to know if the combo improves overall survival, as Keytruda did. But that is advance in this cancer. 'This is really a pivotal study. a new standard of care, ' said Shaw, who has no ties to the drugmakers. The most common side effects were nausea, anemia and fatigue and in both groups about 65% of patients experienced severe side effects. More than four percent of that group developed lung inflammation and three patients died of it.

Non-squamous lung cancer patients make up about 80% of all the non-small cell lung cancers, so that amounts to over 150,000 patients in the U.S. each year, said Gomez, who was not involved in the new study. A widely used immunotherapy drug appears to be useful in a greater number of patients with lung cancer. The immunotherapy drugs did not help people with fewer tumor gene flaws.

Other companies have similar immunotherapy drugs, but Merck's product has an advantage for treatment of lung cancer because it already has data in hand to show its drug is effective in this setting. Details are expected in a couple months.

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