Monday February 18, 2019

New Combo Therapy Found Effective In Kidney Cancer Patients

With this new combination therapy, tumour shrinkage or stabilization was better than that seen in patients taking just one of the two drugs alone, the researchers found

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The study was published in journal The Lancet Oncology. Wikimedia Commons
The study was published in journal The Lancet Oncology. Wikimedia Commons

Combining an anti-angiogenesis agent, which blocks blood vessel formation, with an immunotherapy agent, has shown promising anti-tumour activity in an early phase clinical trial in patients with advanced kidney cancer who had not been previously treated, says a new study.

The findings of the study involving the combination of anti-angiogenesis agent — axitinib (trade name Inlyta) – and the immunotherapy agent — pembrolizumab (trade name Keytruda) – were published in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

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“Our results are unprecedented. The combination doubled the efficacy of the drugs when used alone and the treatment was found to be tolerable,” said Michael Atkins of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and principal investigator for the study.

The immunotherapy agent, pembrolizumab, is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that blocks a self-defense mechanism used by cancer cells to evade attack and destruction by the body's immune cells. Wikimedia Commons
The immunotherapy agent, pembrolizumab, is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that blocks a self-defence mechanism used by cancer cells to evade attack and destruction by the body’s immune cells. Wikimedia Commons

“Specifically, over 90 percent of patients exhibited tumour shrinkage and the disease was kept under control for a median of over 20 months,” Atkins said.

The investigators started their phase-1 clinical trial of this combination in 2014 and enrolled 52 advanced renal cell carcinoma (the most common form of kidney cancer) patients who had not previously been treated for the disease.

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With this new combination therapy, tumour shrinkage or stabilization was better than that seen in patients taking just one of the two drugs alone, the researchers found.

Patients also had fewer liver abnormalities and less fatigue than those treated with other similar combination therapies, Atkins said.

“We think this combination could present a major advance in the treatment of this disease as well as help define effective combinations of similar drugs for other cancers,” Atkins said. (IANS)

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

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Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)