Keytruda Drug Could Diminish, Destroy Cancer Tumors

First Posted: Jun 09, 2017 04:53 AM EDT

A promising result of a study indicates that the drug called Keytruda could be effective against cancer tumors. About tens of thousands of cancer patients could benefit from this FDA-approved drug every year.

The findings of the study were printed in the journal Science on Thursday. The drug pembrolizumab, with brand name Keytruda, is the first drug that has been approved to fight against tumors. Dr. José Baselga, a physician in chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, has just described the study as absolutely brilliant.

In the study that involved 66 patients, it shows that after taking pembrolizumab, their tumors began to shrink and stabilize. They did not spread and grow anymore. Furthermore, the tumors of 18 of them had vanished and had not returned, according to The New York Times.

The philanthropies have been funding this continued study, which began in 2013. Meanwhile, the drug maker Merck supplies the drug. Keytruda is now available for select patients diagnosed with advanced lung, melanoma and bladder tumors. It costs around $156,000 a year. There is also a test for the mutations that costs $300 to $600.

This drug is a new kind of immunotherapy drug called PD-1 blocker. This could expose the cancer cells so the immune system could find and destroy them. It is approved in the EU for second-line treatment of advanced or metastatic NSCLC in patients with tumors expressing PD-L1 in August 2016. The drug might be allowed to be marketed in all 28 member countries of the EU.

In the U.S., the drug Keytruda is approved for treating patients diagnosed with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. It can also be managed until the condition progresses or the toxicity level spreads to an unacceptable level.

In another study known as phase II study I-SPY 2, the drug Keytruda with a combination of a standard therapy shows promising results for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The novel drug is now being examined and tested for more than 30 types of cancer, according to Yahoo.

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