Scientists reported that two new studies showing that the medications, which marshal the body’s own immune defenses, are now having amazing results against recurrent, difficult-to-treat head and neck cancer and an extremely lethal skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma. The diseases can be caused by viruses as well as DNA mutations, and the data show that the drugs help the immune system to recognize and attack cancers resulting from either cause with no radiation or chemotherapy.
The new studies appear to be the first to find that “virus-driven cancers can be amenable to treatment by immunotherapy,” said Paul Nghiem. Since viruses and other pathogens are responsible for more than 20 percent of all cancers, “these results have implications that go far beyond” Merkel cell carcinoma. “In this clinical trial, patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma who received pembrolizumab had an objective response rate of 56 percent.” said Paul Ngheim, MD, PhD, affiliate investigator of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and professor of medicine, Division of Dermatology, at the University of Washington School of Medicine. While the study is still ongoing, the vast majority of patients [86 percent] who responded to pembrolizumab are still experiencing excellent disease control more than six months after starting therapy.”
“Currently there are no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of MCC. We are expanding this trial to recruit additional patients and we hope that these data will contribute to meaningful new therapeutic options becoming available for these patients,” Nghiem said. All the groundbreaking, cutting edge information about this trial can be found by clicking here. This study is also being simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The Al Copeland Foundation is now working really hard to ensure that we raise the critical funds to ensure that this phase II trial comes to Gulf State Region and that we help recruit patients in need of this ground breaking treatment. Right now the closest site for our community to enroll in this trial is in Tampa, FL and our community needs treatment closer to home. We are expanding the Al Copeland Foundation-LSU Health Science Center Partnership in Viruses, Cancer and Immunotherapy to ensure this treatment and the cure for cancer all cancers are available locally to save the lives of our community.
ACF thanks all our supporters that have helped us raise funds to get to where we are today in the fight against cancer. We ask that you help support us today by giving a donation to ensure we can grow this partnership to bring these much needed treatments to our community. Please contact Kathleen Gross by phone at 504-620-3727 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to join us in Changing the Course of Cancer.