New Cancer Treatment: Immunotherapy
It is known that the two main treatments for cancer is chemotherapy and radiation, but now researchers in Chicago are working on another treatment called immunotherapy. For a long time, scientists have been working to find new drugs or external treatment to cancer, but this new treatment focuses on the immune system acting, to fight the disease or just boost the immune system itself. There are two two types of drugs, Ipilimumab and Nivolumab, that work together to reinforce and support the immune system. immunotherapy targets the cancerous cells only, in contrast to radiation or chemo which attacks all cells. Scientists are calling this new treatment promising and encouraging. Dr. James Larkin, who is a part of the study, said "We've seen these drugs working in a wide range of cancers, and I think we are at the beginning of a new era in treating cancer."
Unfortunately, there are various side effects to it that patients need to consider with their doctors before beginning the treatment. For these reasons, it is still on trial where patients can try them. It is the highest survival rates are on a specific deadly skin cancer called Cutaneous Melanoma, which is a very threatening cancer that can usually only be treated with surgery even in its early stages. People with this cancer sometime cannot undergo surgery, therefore the only option is immunotherapy. It is starting to expand to other cancers like bladder, prostate, colorectal, ovarian, lung, breast, ovarian, multiple myeloma, and melanoma.
A man named Joseph Rick had a type of advanced melanoma that metastasized throughout his body. For years he has gone through many sessions of chemotherapy and Radiation which has helped for the past couple of years but has not completely cured his cancer. Doctors had almost lost all hope until he was introduced to the immunotherapy trial and his tumor shrank by fifty percent. Now Joseph is healthy and has been in remission for three years. There are many other inspiring medical stories like this one where immunotherapy has saved and cured people from cancer. Hope for a cure for cancer has been revived once again.
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