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A new trial suggests that a combination of cancer drugs can shrink tumors in 60% of people who suffer from this disease. All of the patients in the trial had advanced melanoma. The trial included 945 people. They were treated with a combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab. Researchers notice that cancer stopped growing in 58% of cases. Melanoma is one of the most common cancer in the UK. Every year, 2.000 people die from it. It is the most serious type of skin cancer.
The immune system is the only defense we have against dangers. But it is a very strong defense. Sadly, there are many limitations that forbid the immune system from attacking our tissues. Cancer is basically the growth of our own cells that changed their DNA. These cells can also mask their appearance so the immune system cannot detect them as treats.
The main goal of aforementioned drugs is to remove the brakes that prevent the immune system from attacking cancer cells. This trial shows that tumors started shrinking when patients were treated with these drugs. In 58% of patients, tumors were reduced by 1/3. They also were stable or they were shrinking 11.5 months. Patients that were treated only with ipilimumab had lower results (19% and 2.5 months).
Dr James Larkin from the Royal Marsden Hospital, said that these drugs are very effective in removing the limitations of our immune system. This is an important progress in a battle versus cancer. Thanks to these two drugs, the immune system can detect cancer cells and treat them as treats.