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Promising Hope For Lung Cancer Patients

Treatment combo improves lung cancer survival times study finds

Keytruda and Opdivo have piled up approvals for advanced cancers, such as for melanoma and bladder cancer.

"The whole idea (of immunotherapy) would be to avoid chemotherapy".

A study on lung cancer patients found that activating the immune system can prompt tumours into spreading friendly T-cells around the body, significantly reducing the chance of cancer returning after surgery.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in DE and nationwide, which is why doctors at Christiana Care Health System are working towards new approaches to catch it in early stages and improve treatments.

The findings represent another step forward for immunotherapy, which has been making steady gains against a number of different cancers. Specifically, the drug makes it harder for cancer cells to "hide" from the immune system.

"This is great that there's new options and improved outcomes" for patients with lung cancer, Hellman said. KEYNOTE-189: Randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study of pembrolizumab (pembro) or placebo plus pemetrexed (pem) and platinum as first-line therapy for metastatic NSCLC.

"It's not over at all, lung cancer is not cured", Neel says. In the United States, it is expected to kill more than 154,000 people in 2018.

Dr Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said: "The results of this trial have the potential to change the treatment paradigm for patients with nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer in the first-line setting, including patients whose tumors are either PD-L1 negative or are untested". But the benefit lasted less than two months on average, and it's too soon to know if the combo improves overall survival, as Keytruda did. The combination treatment is a significant improvement, she said.

The survival benefit was similar across the range of tumor PD-L1 expression, Leena Gandhi, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, reported here at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting. But many clinicians wanted to see validation of a survival benefit in a large trial. "Chemotherapy has limitations. Immunotherapy has the ability to cure". "I only treat lung cancer and I've been doing that for about 20 years". The data are not conclusive, but Herbst said, "In lung cancer, my suspicion is these drugs are the same, like Coke vs. Pepsi". By killing some tumor cells, chemotherapy could pop open the bags, release the contents and help immune cells - unleashed by the checkpoint drugs - to identify their prey.

In the meantime, it also remains to be seen whether immunotherapy will also be a possible method to attack other forms of cancer to go along with kindness and compassion.

Notably, the incidence rate of lung cancer among non-smoking Chinese females is rising comparatively faster compared with those in western countries. Their tumors lacked certain mutations that would have made them eligible for other, "targeted" treatments. Median PFS was 8.8 months with pembrolizumab and 4.9 months with placebo.

Gandhi wondered, Would using immunotherapy earlier in treatment, alongside chemotherapy, do more for patients?

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

"Essentially we think about gene editing as a spell checking program that's on your Word program for a computer", Kmiec said. "All of it is better than what we've been using for years".

"The data are impressive", Herbst said. Those with high levels of the marker fared somewhat better with immunotherapy than those with low levels - but even those with low levels were helped. "We have to keep looking for new things and new approaches".