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Researchers Astounded By New Type of Cancer Treatment

A study led by a group of British researchers might have stumbled onto one of the most exciting breakthroughs in cancer treatment ever.

What they’ve done is learned how to use the body’s own immune system to work towards fighting cancer.

What the researchers discovered is by using two kinds of drugs (ipilimumab and nivolumab) they were able to halt the growth of deadly skin cancer melanoma for nearly a year. 58% of the study’s subjects were able to achieve such results as reported in the The New England Journal of Medicine.

This is not the first time these kinds of treatments have worked to help stop cancer growth, and the research is being heralded as one of best possible treatment methods to pursue in the future.

Dr Steven O’Day, who’s an expert with the American Society of Clinical Oncology said, “Immunotherapy drugs have already revolutionized melanoma treatment, and now we’re seeing how they might be even more powerful when they’re combined. ”

“But the results also warrant caution — the nivolumab and ipilimumab combination used in this study came with greater side effects, which might offset its benefits for some patients. Physicians and patients will need to weigh these considerations carefully,” O’Day said.

In the study mentioned above, as many as 36% of the patients had to discontinue treatment because of the side effects they began to experience.

And just because these results were promising, doesn’t mean doctors are going to be jumping ship and abandoning conventional treatment.

Nell Barrie who’s with Cancer Research UK, called the results “encouraging” and “promising,” but she also reported much more needs to be learned about the treatments before they can be adapted as a new kind of treatment option.

Dr. James Larkin, who was the lead author of the melanoma study, said what they were able to observe in their study is going to change the game in regards to how cancer is treated in the future.

“We’ve seen these drugs working in a wide range of cancers, and I think we are at the beginning of a new era in treating cancer,” Larkin said.

And as CNN news writes:

Barrie said immunotherapy could offer hope to people with cancers that are otherwise difficult to treat, such as melanoma, advanced lung cancer or cancer that has spread throughout the body.

“We’re looking at another weapon in the arsenal,” she said.

At the heart of immunotherapy is that cancer — unlike most other diseases — is not an invader. It consists instead of the body’s own cells gone rogue.

So the immune system is not programmed to target the cancerous cells because it does not recognize them as foreign.

The immunotherapy drugs, Barrie said, “work to switch the immune system back on.”

The results are promising, and it seems to make sense, if a treatment exists to help boost the function of the immune system (instead of tearing it down like chemo and radiation do) would be a worthwhile treatment to begin using.

That is of course provided it’s safe.

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Category: Prescription Drugs, Wellness

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