Sunday February 18, 2018

Immunotherapy Drug Pembrolizumab May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer, Says Research

An immunotherapy drug - Pembrolizumab- has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show

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Immunotherapy Drug May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer. Pixabay.
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London, Nov 27: An immunotherapy drug has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show.

Three out of four patients with the cancerous forms of GTD went into remission after receiving the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab in a clinical trial carried out by researchers at London’s Imperial College.

The findings, published in the journal Lancet, suggest that immunotherapy could be used as a a safer alternative to conventional treatment for the disease.

Pembrolizumab is the trial drug/ immunotherapeutic agent:

The trial, which took place at Charing Cross Hospital, is the first to show that Pembrolizumab can be used to successfully treat women with GTD, according to the study

The researchers hope that this small early stage study could provide another treatment option for women who have drug-resistant GTD and lead to a 100 per cent cure rate.

“We have been able to show for the first time that immunotherapy may be used to cure patients of cancerous GTD,” said Professor Michael Seckl, lead author of the study.

The current treatments to tackle GTD cure most cases of the disease. However, there are a small number of women whose cancers are resistant to conventional therapies and as a result have a fatal outcome,” Seckl added.

“Immunotherapy may be a life-saving treatment and can be used as an alternative to the much more toxic high dose chemotherapy that is currently used,” Seckl said.

GTD is the term used to describe abnormal cells or tumors that start in the womb from cells that normally give rise to the placenta. They are extremely rare but can happen during or after pregnancy.

Globally, 18,000 women are diagnosed annually with cancerous forms of GTD, most of whom are cured with chemotherapy or surgery.

However, up to five per cent of these women’s outcomes are fatal due to factors such as chemotherapy resistance and rare forms of the cancer such as placental site trophoblastic tumours (PSTT) that develop four or more years after the causative pregnancy has ended. (IANS)

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Acupuncture May Boost Chances Of Pregnancy Through IVF

In the new study, the team analyzed data from 3,271 women and nearly 4,400 cycles

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Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of pain relieving treatment by inserting thin needles at specific points in the body. Pixabay
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of pain relieving treatment by inserting thin needles at specific points in the body. Pixabay

If you are looking forward to conceiving anytime soon via in vitro fertilization (IVF), then undertaking an acupuncture therapy prior to the process may boost your chances of getting pregnant by six percent, a new study has claimed.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of pain relieving treatment by inserting thin needles at specific points in the body.

The study found that acupuncture stimulates the sensory nerves under the skin and muscles of the body along with an increased blood flow to the uterus, which makes it more receptive to the embryo implanting when it is transferred during IVF.

ALSO READ: Acupuncture can curb hot flashes in breast cancer patients: Study

Previous studies have found acupuncture nearly doubles the chances of a woman conceiving with IVF. Pixabay
Previous studies have found acupuncture nearly doubles the chances of a woman conceiving with IVF. Pixabay

“Acupuncture may not be entirely conventional, but there’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that it can be effective when it comes to IVF,” Hana Visnova, Medical Director at IVF Cube in Prague, Czech Republic, was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

In the new study, the team analyzed data from 3,271 women and nearly 4,400 cycles.

Of the 4,087 cycles without acupuncture, 2,458 pregnancies were recorded, giving a pregnancy rate of 60 percent.

Of the 301 cycles with acupuncture, there were 201 conceptions — giving a higher pregnancy rate of 66 percent.

Moreover, acupuncture has been proven to have a direct impact on a body's biology, said Tereza Rankin, acupuncturist at the IVF Cube. Pixabay
Moreover, acupuncture has been proven to have a direct impact on a body’s biology, said Tereza Rankin, acupuncturist at the IVF Cube. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Evidences of Recruitment and Abolition show the plight of Indentured immigrants from India

“There’s evidence that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the uterus while producing neurotransmitters which help with pain relief,” she said

“It can make the lining of the uterus more receptive to the embryo when it’s transferred, therefore aiding implantation during IVF.

“And the therapy can also help to relax the cervix, preventing any painful cramps and again helping with the embryo transfer,” Rakin noted.

However, the British Fertility Society says there’s no evidence that having acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine treatment around the time of assisted conception increases the likelihood of subsequent pregnancy, the report said. (IANS)