Drug 'boosts lung cancer survival hopes'

04 June 2015 09:32

Scientists have hailed the potential of the new drug

Scientists have hailed the potential of the new drug

A new drug could help patients with a devastating form of lung cancer to live longer, it has been suggested.

Nivolumab, an immuno-therapy drug that unshackles the immune system so it can attack cancerous cells, has been shown to double the life expectancy of genetically targeted patients with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.

One expert has described the results of the major international trial as a "paradigm shift" in the battle against lung cancer.

Lung cancer is one of the UK's most serious forms of the disease.

Advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer accounts for around 85% of all cases of the lung disease, which is diagnosed in 43,463 new patients and is responsible for 35,371 deaths each year in the UK.

Overseas travel

Like other cancers, treatment depends on how far it has spread and how good your general health is.

But whether you are a cancer survivor or are undergoing treatment, cancer travel insurance means you can still enjoy jetting off to sunnier climes around the world with family and friends.

Policies can include cover for replacing lost medication and access to 24/7 emergency assistance.

Longer life expectancy

The new research, led by Dr Luis Paz-Ares, from the Hospital Universitario Virgen Del Rocio in Spain, compared the effectiveness of nivolumab and the standard chemotherapy drug docetaxel in 582 patients with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.

Nivolumab reduced the risk of dying by 27% compared with docetaxel and increased typical survival time from 9.4 to 12.2 months.

In patients whose cancers produced higher levels of a tumour protein called PD-L1, survival time more than doubled from eight to 19.4 months.

Dr David Chao, consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, described the findings as a paradigm shift in the treatment of lung cancer.

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