New Cancer Drug?

pink-ribbonGreat news with hope!  A new cancer drug combo study has been found to shrink tumors in 60% of patients.

Two cancer drugs, when taken in concert, can shrink tumors in nearly 60% of people with advanced-stage melanoma, according to a new study.

The trial, which enrolled 945 patients at 137 sites worldwide, found that treating the cancer with medications ipilimumab and nivolumab stopped its advance for almost a year in more than half of cases, the BBC reports, citing a presentation by U.K. doctors this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual conference. The research was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Both drugs are designed to bring the body’s natural defenses in on the fight against the cancer. While the immune system is generally a potent agent in combatting disease, certain built-in “brakes” keep the body from attacking its own tissue — a loophole that cancers can use to continue growing unchecked. But both medications turn those “brakes” off.

Both drugs are developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Inc.  BMY 3.24% . Another drug, Pembrolizumab, developed by Merck & Co. Inc.  MRK -0.10%  is reported to have similar qualitiese, according to the BBC.

In the study, 58% of patients taking both medicines saw their tumours shrink by at least a third over the course of almost a year. Still, perhaps the most important information — how long patients treated with the two medications live — is unknown, and will remain so for some time.

Skin cancer is among the most common cancers; according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), while melanoma accounts for less than 2% of skin cancers, it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths. The ACS predicts that nearly 10,000 Americans will die of skin cancer in 2015.

While this is very good news, the downside is substantial.  The price, if all U.S. patients with metastic cancer took drugs priced at $295,000 a year would cost 174 billion to treat them all for one year.

At some point, corporations who seek to massively profit from the sickness of the human race, needs to get a conscience and provide life-saving drugs like this at affordable prices.  In the nordic countries and europe, this is probably not a problem!


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