• Staff

New Cancer Drug Shows Promising Results

According to CNN, the FDA recently approved a new cancer treatment drug called Keytruda, which “stimulates the body’s immune system.” So far, the drug has mostly been used to treat lung cancer.

Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are sometimes referred to as the three “pillars” of cancer treatment, and immunotherapy may soon join them as an early state treatment. Keytruda could be the first treatment the patient receives after diagnosis.

Immunotherapy has been researched since 1890, when Dr. William Coley first realized that “intentionally producing an infection in a patient could help treat cancer.” According to CNN, modern day immunotherapy “comes in many forms -- treatment vaccines, antibody therapies and drugs -- and can be received through an injection, a pill or capsule, a topical ointment or cream, or a catheter.” Immunotherapy can be used alone or combined with traditional treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

According to Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, CEO of the cancer research institute, “Cancer immunotherapy really refers to treatment that use your own immune system to recognize, control, and hopefully ultimately cure cancer.”

According to Fox News, Merck, the manufacturer of Keytruda, is currently conducting trials and has seen very promising results in treating lung cancer: “Keytruda halved the risk of disease progression and cut overall deaths by 40 percent compared to chemotherapy alone.”