Combo immunotherapy may change treatment for kidney cancer


July 6 (UPI) -- A study by the University of Texas Southwestern found a combination therapy of two immunotherapy drugs doubles the response in kidney cancer patients. Kidney cancer is the sixth most common cancer affecting both men and women with most targeted treatments prolonging life expectancy but not providing a cure. In the study, published July 5 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers report response rates of the combination therapy increasing from 20 percent to 40 percent with the addition of the drug ipilimumab to the current U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved treatment of nivolumab to treat kidney cancer. The clinical trial consisted of 100 kidney cancer patients showed results that lasted beyond two years after treatment. "For this group of patients, these are very significant results," Dr. Hans Hammers, an associate professor of Internal Medicine and co-leader of the Kidney Cancer Program at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center of UT Southwestern Medical Center, said in a press release. Over the past decade, there have been significant advances in the treatment of kidney cancer, however, most of the approved drugs act in a palliative manner but lack a cure. "By contrast, durable responses lasting many years can be achieved with immunotherapy," Hammers said. "While side effects of immunotherapy can be significant, they are typically reversible, and unlike current therapies, don't significantly dampen patients' daily quality of life."Amy Wallace

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