An experimental cancer treatment succeeds in eradicating end-stage head and neck tumors

A new cancer treatment has successfully eradicated tumors in terminally ill head or neck cancer patients. This is stated by a group of researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research from London, which has achieved this successful result by combining several immunotherapy drugs. After receiving the treatment, they point out, it is the patients’ own immune system that killed off the cancer cells, generating a positive trend in the survival rate.

As published by the British newspaper The Guardian, a man who, supposedly, should have died four years ago, now remembers the moment when the nurses told him that his tumor had completely disappeared. Thanks to this treatment, in fact, at 77 years of age he continues to act as a grandfather and went on a cruise a few days ago.

By combining the drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab, the researchers saw the tumors shrink and, in some cases, even disappear, completely erasing any traces of the disease.

Life expectancy and side effects

The experts cited by The Guardian point out that this new combination of immunotherapy drugs may become a new therapeutic weapon against various types of advanced cancer. Some previous studies, in fact, had shown similar results in patients with skin, kidney or colon cancer.

In addition to increasing the life expectancy of cancer patients, this new treatment has another added advantage: it produces fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy, which is the most common treatment for many cancer patients.

“They are promising results”

The results, which are based on a phase 3 study in which almost 1,000 terminal head or neck patients have participated, still do not have sufficient statistical solidity, but at the clinical level they have attracted attention.

“They are promising results,” he declared to The Guardian Professor Kristian Helin, head of the ICR. “Immunotherapy is gentler and more advanced and can bring many benefits to patients.”

The researchers now hope that the next results of the CheckMate 651 study, led by the pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb, will demonstrate what improvements this treatment can bring in patients with advanced head or neck cancer.

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