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Published on : Jun 01, 2015

A new test has found that two cancer drugs have the capability to diminish tumors in 60% of cancer patients suffering from advanced melanoma.

The pair of cancer drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab combined to reduce tumors by 58% in 11.5 months when tested on 945 people with cancer. These facts were reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology by doctors from Cancer Research U.K. The two drugs proved to be a potent blow to a deadly form of cancer. Melanoma is among the 6 most severe forms of cancer that proves fatal to more than 2000 people annually in U.K.

Immune system research is a fast developing field in cancer research. There are built-in “brakes” that stop the immune system from weakening and cancer corrupts these “brakes” and the immune system attack on cancer cells is hindered. But the life span of the tested patients is not known at present, though there is hope that the results of the treatment are enduring.

Side effects such as diarrhea, rashes, and fatigue were observed in more than half the people treated with the drug combination. Some patients had no benefits while some were reported to respond well to the treatment. The research team states that the new research proves that the combination drugs had the ability to remove the brakes that hid the cancer from the immune system, but side effects are present. The patients that can benefit from this treatment needs to be identified. There is optimism about the treatment for other types of cancer as well. 

43 year old Cait Chalwell had only 18-24 months to live as she was suffering from melanoma since 2013. The combined drugs treatment has made her stable but she had to stop the treatment due to side effects. She believes the treatment is the reason she is still alive.