Im­mune ther­apy scores big win vs. lung can­cer in study

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

CHICAGO | For the first time, a treat­ment that boosts the im­mune sys­tem greatly im­proved sur­vival in peo­ple newly di­ag­nosed with the most com­mon form of lung can­cer.

It’s the big­gest win so far for im­munother­apy, which has had much of its suc­cess in less com­mon can­cers.

In the study, Merck’s Keytruda, given with stan­dard chemo­ther­apy, cut in half the risk of dy­ing or hav­ing the can­cer worsen, com­pared to chemo alone af­ter nearly one year.

The re­sults are ex­pected to quickly set a new stan­dard of care for about 70,000 pa­tients each year in the United States whose lung can­cer has al­ready spread by the time it’s found.

An­other study found that an im­munother­apy combo — the Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb drugs Op­divo and Yer­voy — worked bet­ter than chemo for de­lay­ing the time un­til can­cer wors­ened in ad­vanced lung can­cer pa­tients whose tu­mors have many gene flaws.

But the ben­e­fit lasted less than two months on av­er­age and it’s too soon to know if the combo im­proves over­all sur­vival, as Keytruda did.

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