Two new drugs for melanoma

2014 Research
The American College of Clinical Oncolgy meeting in Chicago end May 2014 were told of two news drugs. Both drugs - pembrolizumab and nivolumab - block the biological pathway cancers use to disguise themselves from the immune system.


In what was being hailed a ‘paradigm shift for cancer therapy’, pembrolizmab attacked advanced melanoma: Previously advanced melanoma had an average survival time of 6 months, but with pembrolizumab this increases to one year. But a number of patients saw secondary cancers (for example in the lung), clear away completely.


Dr. David Chao of the Royal Free in London is conducting trials on melanoma and lung cancer.


The other drug, nivolumab, was tested in combination with an existing immunotherapy drug, ipilimumab. In a trial of 53 patients, survival was 85% after one year, and 79% after two years.


John Wagstaff, Professor of medical oncology at Swansea College of Medicine said: "I am convinced that this is a breakthrough in treating melanoma. The trial is still ‘blinded’ so we don’t know what treatments the patients are getting, but we have seen some spectacular responses."


2014 Research
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