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article imageBreakthrough with new prostate cancer immune system drug

By Tim Sandle     Jun 2, 2018 in Health
Scientists have declared the results of a trial involving a new prostate cancer immune system drug as 'spectacular', with the results showing success against certain patients.
The new trial relates to immunotherapy drugs. These are medications which boost the immune system, and here trials have shown combination treatments to have have saved the lives of some men who were diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. The drugs alter the body's immune system that focuses directly on tackling cancer. Importantly, the medications only work for some patients.
The headline news from the study is that after one year over one third of men with an advanced form of the cancer were still alive and one-in-10 showed no further growth. The drug in question was pembrolizumab. Pembrolizumab is a humanized antibody used in cancer immunotherapy. It is an IgG4 isotype antibody that blocks a protective mechanism of cancer cells, and allows the immune system to destroy those cancer cells.
Prostate cancer is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow very quickly. Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way.
Speaking with The Independent about the study, lead researcher Professor Johan de Bono explains: “In the last few years immunotherapy has changed the way we treat many advanced cancers – but up to now no one had demonstrated a benefit in men with prostate cancer."
Professor de Bono adds: “Our study has found that immunotherapy can benefit a subset of men with advanced, otherwise untreatable prostate cancer, and these are most likely to include patients who have specific DNA repair mutations within their tumours.”
The new study involved trial of 258 men, and the trial was conducted jointly by the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. The research findings have been presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago, which is taking place June 1 to June 5, 2018 .
More about Cancer, Prostate cancer, Immunotherapy
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