The medicines that enhance the immune system have saved the lives of some men suffering from prostate cancer, as said by the UK doctors. According to the team at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, the results were spectacular and a big deal. However, this therapy might not be effective in all the male patients suffering from prostate cancer. Cancer Research UK made a statement that the next step was to predict who would respond.
Immunotherapy has been transforming the treatment lines of cancer and is now part of the regimen practice for some skin and lung cancers. It is done by taking small breaks off the patient’s immune system so it can attack a tumor. At the initial stages of the trial, presented at the world’s biggest meeting of cancer doctors and scientists in Chicago, is the first to show that this approach works on prostate cancer as well. In the United Kingdom, the disease is considered as the most common form of cancer in men and it has recently overtaken breast cancer to become the third most dangerous killer.
Michael English, aged 72, was among the 258 men who participated in the trial. He was initially diagnosed in 2005, but with radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and hormone-based therapies, his cancer cells were still not cured. After two years, he was given the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. When asked about the results, he said that he was astonished when the scans showed that the tumor has become undetectable. He is 100% cancer free and living a healthy life today. He can play out the next 20 years of his life, he says.
According to the researcher Professor Johann de Bono’s report, this is the first evidence that a subset of prostate cancer patients does spectacularly well on immunotherapy. He was reported saying that they have several patients in the Marsden who have had a complete response. It is a new arrow in the quiver for men with lethal prostate cancer; it is a big deal for the cancer patients. Only between 10-15% of the patients had a response to the therapy, he said. This is an approach that will certainly not help the majority of men. The team of experts in London has seen hints that it works best in patients with the most heavily mutated cancers.