Team of researchers finds relief in possible Melanoma Cure
A team of health researchers in the UK have realised encouraging results after successfully administering and treating 1/5 of Melanoma patients using two immuno-therapy drugs. A combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab treated 69% of 142 patients who had taken part in the study, leading doctors to believe they might have found remedy to the dreaded Melanoma cancer.
This type of cancer affects the skin and is considered the 6th most common form of cancer responsible for killing some 2,000 people annually in the UK.
Doctors also pulled data from a separate research by Merck dubbed ”immunotherapy pembrolizumab”. The data showed increased survival rate among patients who took participated.
The human body is designed with a robust immune system that prevents diseases from developing. But in as much as the immune system is powerful, it has special brakes designed to keep it from attacking tissues.
Cancer is a case of corrupted tissues living in the body, and can take advantage of these ”brakes” to thrive without being assaulted.
These two drugs, Ipilimumab and Nivolumab, have been designed to cut those brakes
The two drugs are quite common in the treatment of melanoma. However, doctors now believe that a combination of these two drugs will work best.
Medical reports already show survival rate standing at 53% after two years of administering ipilimumab alone. The same report shows that the total survival rate for the combined therapy is 69%. However, because this is a relatively small study, the data can be used to give insights into what would happen in the case of bigger and advanced studies.
Another study comprising of some 1,000 participants has already begun releasing results. However, this particular study has not been conducted long enough to publish survival figures.
61-year old Vicky Brown from Cardiff was diagnosed with Melanoma cancer which had spread to her lungs in early April 2013.
Doctors administered the treatment combination to her in the same year. According to her, this therapy worked well in the first month. The tumours subsided during that same month. However, she began facing serious health side effects which included inflamed bowels and irritated liver. One year later, her doctor reported that cancer had started again.
She went on a second therapy which involved a combination of the two drugs, Ipilimumab and Nivolumab. Her tumours seemed to have shrunk again. This clearly says something about the ability of this therapy to increase survival rate.
The side effects of combining the two drugs
This therapy increases the survival rate of Melanoma patients by a significant percentage. It offers hope to those suffering from Melanoma. But at the same time, there could be a risk of developing health-related side effects.
The challenge then sets in when it comes to identifying which patients will benefit and which ones will develop side effects. It is the only way doctors can help determine the kind of treatment that best suits a patient.
Theoretically speaking, if a drug is administered to a cancer patient only for the disease to return, then it is assumed that such therapy is not effective. However, in the case of this combo treatment, doctors believe they are dealing with something different.