Immunotherapy is one of the most innovative developments in cancer treatment in years, that is starting to take flight at a time when a lot of cancer drug research seems to be approaching obstacles in the way. An increase of orthodox chemotherapy drugs have minimal effects, purchasing people with the advanced disease a few months or even just weeks of living life.
However, the research team working on immunotherapy have set out in an entirely different path, fooling the body’s own defense into fighting the enemy cancer internally. For some time, this has been a desire. The idea goes back into the 1970’s and for more than 10 years the big pharmaceutical companies displayed no interest.
Different drugs looked much more promising to make money. Yet currently there s real proof that immunotherapy can sometimes delay terminal cancer in their tracks and big pharma is hopping on the bandwagon with a vengeance.
In Chicago at the American Society for Clinical Oncology yearly conference, where so many promising cancer medicines have been announced in the past not always in the long run fulfilling the high aspirations experts are claiming that the result of a test run involving a mix of two new immunotherapy drugs for melanoma patients.
With half of the patients in the British test run, considered terminally ill and with minimal time left, replied to ipilimumab, a drug licensed four years ago,mixed with the new and however unlicensed drug nivolumab. On its own, ipilimumab works for close to a fifth of patients. The mix of the two shrank the tumors of almost 60% of patients.
Both ipilimumab, distributed under the brand name Yervoy, and were created by an American biotech firm called Medarex, located in New Jersey and set up by a handful of immunologist from Dartmouth medical school. Their conviction in Immunotherapy for cancer has been highly rewarded back in 2009, their small company was purchased by the pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. During the following year, Bristol-Myers Squibb released information in regards to the first major trial results of ipilimumab. Different companies have been fighting to get involved ever since