Mustard gas is used on the battlefield but its key chemical mustard nitrogen formed the basis of the earliest forms of Cancer-fighting chemotherapy, in the 1940s. The chemotherapy drugs worked by the same principle that chemotherapy does toxins that turn the body into a hostile environment. Last week, at the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, a further wave of exciting Cancer discoveries were unveiled. The immune-system-enhancing medicines that help the body fight Cancer.
These drugs have far fewer side effects than traditional treatments, such as chemo. An immune-boosting drug can reduce disease recurrence and deaths in kidney-Cancer patients by up to a third. The medicine pembrolizumab could provide life-long protection in patients once considered incurable.
The result of a trial showed that the number dramatically reduced. In the study, 994 patients with the most common form of kidney Cancer, clear cell renal cell carcinoma, were prescribed pembrolizumab immediately after surgery. After two years, patients receiving the drug were a third less likely to see their Cancer return or die compared to patients, not on the drug. Pembrolizumab, also known under the brand name Keytruda, is one of a new class of drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, which help the immune system recognise tumour cells and destroy them.