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Sat Nov 23, 2019, 06:24 AM

Cancer immunotherapy drug 'less toxic and prolongs life'


Cancer immunotherapy drug 'less toxic and prolongs life'

By Philippa Roxby
Health reporter, BBC News

23 November 2019

An immunotherapy drug that could save some cancer patients from the ordeal of extreme chemotherapy may also help them live longer, researchers say.

In a trial, pembrolizumab kept head and neck cancers at bay for an average of two years - five times longer than under chemotherapy.

The patients also suffered far fewer side-effects.

Cases of head and neck cancers are rising in the UK and most are diagnosed late, when they are hard to treat.

'I can get on with my life'

Derek Kitcherside, 70, from Leicestershire, believes he wouldn't be here without pembrolizumab.

He was diagnosed with cancer of the voicebox in 2011. When he started coughing up blood three years later, after receiving standard treatment, he was told the cancer had spread to his lungs and was probably incurable.

Derek asked to go on a drug trial and travelled to London every three weeks for two years for treatment with pembrolizumab.

"My tumour was shrinking all the time and I felt a bit better every time I went," he said. "It made a huge difference to my life."

Regular scans show the disease is now stable and the tumour is still getting smaller.

What is immunotherapy?

It is a treatment that does not kill cancer cells itself but instead stimulates the body's immune system to attack them.

Pembrolizumab is already being used to treat a wide range of advanced cancers, including melanoma - a type of skin cancer that spreads easily.

Experts believe the drug has the potential to treat many more.

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Reply Cancer immunotherapy drug 'less toxic and prolongs life' (Original post)
nitpicker Nov 23 OP
samnsara Nov 23 #1

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Sat Nov 23, 2019, 06:54 AM

1. hubby going thru immunology therapy now..

...not for this ca but for something else. So far very few side effects!

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