Lung cancer patients live longer with immune therapy

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A separate study by Johns Hopkins University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre tested the immunotherapy drug, nivolumab, on 21 patients about to have surgery for non-small-cell lung cancer.

A study involving people with advanced stage lung cancer found it nearly doubled their survival time, while another revealed that immunotherapy treatment shrank tumours before surgery.

A new study on immunotherapy Keytruda found that using the treatment, in combination with chemotherapy, dramatically increases the survival rates of patients with lung cancer. The two drugs help jump-start the immune system to attack cancer.

Gandhi said chemotherapy alone had only a "modest benefit", and could add only a few months of life, with most patients surviving about a year or less.

Two thirds were given a combination of both immunotherapy drugs and chemotherapy while the remaining patients were given chemotherapy and a placebo.

The study, a phase III clinical trial testing treatment effectiveness and side effects, included 616 patients at 118 medical facilities around the globe.

Dr. Jorge Gomez, a volunteer spokesperson for the American Lung Association and a medical oncologist and director of thoracic oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY, explained that "about 220,000 patients are diagnosed with lung cancer a year in the U.S.". The report shows that 3.8 million people were diagnosed with cancer each year and more than 2.2 million patients died. The median overall survival was 11.3 months in those who did not receive immunotherapy, whereas survival in the immunotherapy group was longer and the median has not yet been reached. But now, they're finding if you change the timing, you can get better results. These drugs are very, very interesting. It's called immunotherapy. Doctors have been using Keytruda and Opdivo for several years treating lung cancer.

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