A new study hails the crucial importance of combining two immunotherapy drugs in the fight against inoperable melanoma.
The study conducted on a pool of 945 patients under the supervision of research centers from Israel, the United States and a number of European states showed that the successful combination of two drugs already tested for the market have a dramatic impact on tumor shrinking.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology was the forum where the results of the study were discussed by the oncology specialists. They indicated that the drugs coming from the immunotherapy category increased the organism’s chances to both locate and terminate cancer cells infiltrating the immune system.
The two drugs are known as Ipilimumab or Yervoy, as well as Nivolumab or Opdivo. Clinical trials showed that when used together, 58 percent of the subjects presented reduced tumors. Also, approximately 20 percent of the patients reported that the tumor completely dissolved.
According to Professor Michal Lotem, director of the Center for Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy at the Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, the new treatment proved so efficient in fighting tumors as each one of the two existing drugs targets a different part of the immune system altogether.
While Ipilimumab is responsible for blocking the CLTA-4 protein that usually inhibits the immune system, Nivolumab is responsible for blocking a different molecule, PD-1. The combined treatment with both these active substances increased the progression free survival of the patients to 11.5 months.
In the case of treatment with just Yervoy, the progression-free survival was rated at 2.9 months. For Opdivo, the same was estimated at 6.9 months.
However, the specialist conducting the study warned that the progression-free survival and even absolute reduction of the tumors also meant higher toxicity levels. The toxic effects were managed by the team successfully.
While a little more work is needed in the area, the combination of these two drugs targeting the immune system for melanoma reduction is an important step forward in drawing the needed attention for immunotherapy integration into oncological treatment.
Conventional methods of treating melanoma, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy are far more toxic for the body and often do not herald the hoped results.
In light of the new findings, immunotherapy stands a good chance in being the new platform for cancer treatment.
Image Source: immuno-oncologynews.com