Promising results revealed by trials of an “amazing” treatment that can eliminate tumors in terminally ill patients


Researchers have announced major advances in the field of cancer, with their findings using an “amazing wonder” drug that can destroy tumors in terminally ill patients.

A landmark trial found that a combination of two immunotherapy drugs harnessed patients’ immune systems to kill their cancer cells.

Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation found that this drug combination could shrink tumors in terminally ill head and neck cancer patients.

In some cases, the cancer has completely disappeared, leaving doctors confused as to find no trace of the disease.

Results of similar trials of drug combinations provided similar benefits in patients with chronic kidney, skin and bowel cancer.

A phase III trial of the exceptional drug involved nearly 1,000 cancer patients.

The results were described as “clinically targeted”, with patients living longer months or years and experiencing significantly fewer side effects.

Professor Christian Helen, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, said these were “promising results”.

He told the British newspaper “The Guardian”: “Immunotherapies are gentler and smarter treatments that can bring significant benefits to patients.”

The results of the trial revealed that the combination of immunotherapy gave an especially high success rate in a group of patients whose tumors had high levels of an immune marker called PD-L1.

The researchers found that those with high levels of the immune marker who received the combination immunotherapy had the highest survival rates ever in a first-line treatment (initial therapy) trial for relapsed or metastatic head and neck cancer.

The patients also lived an average of three months longer than those who received chemotherapy instead.

The results also indicated that the median survival for these patients was 17.6 months, the highest rate ever reported in this group of patients.

The researchers hope to reveal more results in the trial, which is funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

They are also seeking to discover more benefits of treatment in patients with advanced head and neck cancer.

“Although there is no statistical significance, these findings are clinically targeted,” said Professor Kevin Harrington, Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies at the Institute of Cancer Research.

“We will need to do a longer follow-up to see if we can demonstrate a survival benefit for all patients in the trial.”

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