Immunotherapy: The best chance to survive the deadliest skin cancer

A new method that redefines how we fight deadly skin cancer could be coming sometime this year, according to scientists.

In a Phase III trial for a therapy using a genetically engineered cold virus, scientists have been able to eradicate and halt any further tumor growth.

The new treatment uses an immunotherapy approach together with a direct targeted attack, destroying the cancer cells while preparing the body to fight off the disease.

Kevin Harrington,  a professor from London’s Institute of Cancer research was the leader of the international Phase III trials conducted in the US, UK, Canada, and South Africa. One in ten out of the 26% of the patients who responded to the treatment had their tumors disappear without a trace. Another 16% out of the 26% had their cancers reduce in size by about 50%.

According to Harrington, “It’s not an exaggeration to say this is a first-in-class agent, an entirely new type of anti-cancer treatment.

“There will have to be discussions about cost effectiveness but we hope to see this agent receive approval in about the next 12 months, making it possible to prescribe it for cancer.”

T-Vec, the name of the drug, is a new kind of treatment of drugs based on modified viruses. T-Vec itself is based on the herpes simplex type-1 virus, modified to be harmless to humans but deadly to cancer.

While there have been similar drugs in the past, T-Vec is the first to show such potential in Phase III trials—a step shy of licensing and release to the public.

Results have shown that patients who respond to the drug either stay cancer free or experience no further growth for up to three years.




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