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This article is more than 1 month old New treatment destroys head and neck cancer tumours in trial This article is more than 1 month old Exclusive: combination of drugs causes tumours to vanish in some terminally ill patients, study finds The immunotherapy treatment triggered far fewer side-effects than prostate cancer causes. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo The immunotherapy treatment triggered far fewer side-effects than chemotherapy.
The year-old grandfather is now cancer-free and spent last week on a cruise with his wife. Scientists found the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab medications led to a reduction in the size of tumours in terminally ill head and neck cancer patients. In some, their cancer vanished altogether, with doctors stunned to prostate cancer causes no detectable sign of disease.
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Read more Combining the two immunotherapy drugs could prove an effective new weapon against several forms of advanced cancer, experts believe. Results from other trials of the drug combination have previously suggested similar benefits for terminally ill kidney, skin and bowel cancer patients.
There is an urgent need for better, kinder treatments prostate cancer causes these patients that can keep them alive longer than the current standard of care. When Barry Ambrose, 77, from Bury St Edmunds, was diagnosed with throat cancer inhe was told that it had already spread to his lungs — and that hospital palliative care was his only option.
But in a turn of events that saved his life, Ambrose was offered the chance to join the new study. It turned out to be a lifeline.
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He currently has no evidence of disease. Last week he enjoyed a cruise off the coast of the UK with his wife, Sue. The results of the trial show the immunotherapy combination enjoyed a particularly high success rate in a group of patients whose tumours had high levels of an immune marker called PD-L1.
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Survival rates in those with high levels of PD-L1 who received the immunotherapy cocktail were the highest ever reported in a firstline therapy trial of relapsed or metastatic head and neck cancer. These patients lived an average of three months longer than those having chemotherapy.
The median overall survival for these patients was Researchers said they hoped future findings from the CheckMate trial, funded by Bristol Myers Squibb, will show further benefits of the therapy in patients with advanced head and neck cancers.