A CANCER breakthrough has been made as scientists hail the results of an “amazing” wonderdrug that can destroy tumours in terminally ill patients.
A landmark trial found a mixture of two immunotherapy medicines harnessed patients’ immune systems to kill their own cancer cells.
Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London and the Royal Marsden NHS foundation trust found that by combining nivolumab and ipilimumab medications could shrink tumours in terminally-ill head and neck patients cancer patients.
Results from similar trials of the drug combinations have alos given similar benefits for terminally-ill kidney, skin and bowel cancer patients.
Chemoterapy, often the standard form of treatment to cancer patients who have advanced forms of the disease, is often a painful and arduous process and was describe by experts as “extreme’.
But results from the trial, which was in Phase 3, involved almost 1,000 head and neck cancer patients were early and significant.
The researchers said these results were still “clinically meaningful”, as some patients lived months or years longer and suffered far fewer side effects.
Professor Kristian Helin, ICR chief executive said that these were “promising results.”
He said: “Immunotherapies are kinder, smarter treatments that can bring significant benefits to patients.”
The trial results revealed the immunotherapy combination gave a particularly high success rate in a group of patients whose tumours had high levels of an immune marker called PD-L1.
Survival rates in those with high levels the marker who received the immunotherapy combination were the highest ever reported in a firstline therapy trial of relapsed or metastatic head and neck cancer.