New Lung Cancer Drug Doubles Life Expectancy
Lung cancer sufferers were today offered a new potentially life-saving treatment that enables the body to identify and attack cancerous cells. The licensing process for such drugs usually takes years, but the UK Government has fast-tracked the treatment.
The drug is called nivolumab. It works by teaching the immune system which cells are cancerous and should be destroyed. Research evidence has shown that the positive effect of the drug continues for several years following cessation of the treatment. Early evidence suggests that the new drug actually doubles survival rates.
Even better news is that the drug will be provided free of charge to patients with advanced lung cancer, who are not able to have surgery. Manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb is meeting the costs of the treatment until it’s formally licensed. The scheme currently works by treating patients as ‘guinea pigs’ taking part in trials. So far the drug has been so successful that the government hopes it will prolong hundreds of lives.
Lung cancer is deadly. Just 5% of patients survive for more than 10 years following diagnosis. After breast and prostate cancer, it’s the second most common form of the disease with 10,000 sufferers in the UK alone.
In trials carried out so far, 42% of participants were still alive one year after taking nivolumab, and some went on to live for two years. This compares favourably with just 24 per cent of those involved in the trial who underwent chemotherapy instead. Cancer consultants have reacted enthusiastically to the new treatment hailing it as the biggest breakthrough since chemotherapy.
It seems only a matter of time before cancer will be beaten. The announcement that one of the most devastating and fatal cancers out there can be effectively eradicated by using this new immunotherapy drug is wonderful news. And the fact that it’s currently free to patients is even better.
Image source: sanger.ac.uk
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk