Study shows new hope for some breast cancer patients through immunotherapy drugs
Breast cancer for a long time was in effect immune from immunotherapy. That apparently is no longer the case.
According to an Associated Press story by Marilynn Marchione this week, one of the new immunotherapy drugs "has shown promise against breast cancer in a large study that combined it with chemotherapy to treat an aggressive form of the disease."
For the first time.
There's a big caveat lurking in the researchers' labs, however: "The benefit for most women was small."
And that, according to Marchione's story, raised questions "about whether the treatment is worth its high cost and side effects."
Results of the new study — which tested a drug from Roche called Tecentriq — were discussed at a cancer conference in Munich and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The type of drugs in question, called checkpoint inhibitors, have previously been found helpful in treatments of many other cancers "by removing a chemical brake that keeps the immune system from killing tumor cells."
Their discovery, in fact, recently earned scientists a Nobel Prize.
|Dr. Michael Hassett|
The story quoted Dr. Michael Hassett of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who didn't take part in the study, as saying "he felt 'cautious excitement' that immunotherapy may prove helpful for certain breast cancer patients."
Details about other research on and treatments for the disease can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.