Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide and in the United States. Recent medical studies in the United States have found that immunotherapy drugs can change the treatment of lung cancer and continue life for 90% of patients.
The study found that pretreatment of lung cancer patients with immunotherapy drugs before surgery can help ablate the tumor and limit or even prevent its spread. Dr. Roy Herbst, a lung cancer expert at the Yale Cancer Center, said that the results of this study are encouraging and that every lung cancer patient may receive immunotherapy first.
In another study, a team at the Johns Hopkins Medical School administered 20 immunosuppressive drugs to patients with lung cancer before undergoing surgery. A year later, 16 patients were still alive and no tumors could be detected; both tumors relapsed, but they were asymptomatic after additional treatment; one died of lung cancer, and one died of head injury unrelated to the tumor. Therefore, after a year and a half, 18 lung cancer patients are still alive. This is a small study, but it shows that immunotherapy drugs can help patients. Currently, because these drugs are new drugs, they are usually used in advanced cancer patients.
Recently, a New York University study also showed that immunotherapy drugs combined with standard chemotherapy doubled the survival of lung cancer patients.
Immunotherapy protects the body’s immune system against cancer through various mechanisms, such as by enhancing the activity of the immune system, exposing tumor cells and using specific immune proteins to attack tumor cells. An immunotherapeutic called Opdivo kills tumors by breaking down tumors and releases small fragments that stimulate a wide immune response. However, these drugs are very expensive and a course of treatment costs more than $100,000.