Jimmy Carter saved by jointly developed US-Israel cancer drugcancer free thanks to a cancer drug developed by a joint US-Israeli team. This is from the first link.
Carter announced in August that he had been diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to his brain and laid out a treatment plan, including a round of targeted radiation at the brain tumors and doses of an immune-boosting drug every three weeks. Keytruda, the drug, was approved not long before Carter's announcement and helps his body seek out and destroy cancer cells.
Carter's spokeswoman Deanna Congileo said in an email that Carter received doses of the drug from August through February. She said his doctors will continue to perform scans to ensure cancer cells have not returned, and Carter will "resume treatment if necessary."
A spokesman for Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute, where Carter has been treated, declined to comment on Sunday, citing patient privacy.
Medical experts have called Keytruda and similar immune therapy drugs "game-changing" for patients with melanoma. But the drugs are relatively new, and doctors are still learning about how they should be used, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. He is not involved in Carter's treatment.
"Some people believe they should be continued as long as a patient is doing well, some feel the drugs should continue for a period of time and then be stopped," Lichtenfeld said. "This is clearly a (decision) based on individual evidence specific to the president and made with his doctors."Carter will continue to receive doses of the drug every three weeks. Here's a story from 2014 on the development team.
"This medicine is a miracle cure - it's a real breakthrough," says Prof. Jacob Schachter, head of research and treatment of melanoma and skin cancer at Sheba Medical Center, who is part of the international research team for the medicine.
The new treatment comes from the field of immunotherapy, which helps the immune system fight cancer, unlike chemotherapy, which attacks the tumor itself. There are various types of cancerous tumors, such as melanoma, that use a "shield" to protect themselves from being identified by the immune system. The new medicine paralyzes this type of screening mechanism, so the immune system can recognize the cancer and attack it.
The results of the international research suggest that using the medicine Pembrolizumab, also known as MK-3475, yields impressive survival rates in patients with advanced cancer, with 69 percent surviving one year and 63 percent surviving 18 months.
Without this treatment, patients with metastatic melanoma die from the disease within 4-5 months, after reaching stage four cancer. The research tested 41,818 patients, 1,800 of them in Israel. The research took place over a decade, while the clinical stage took four years.
The new medicine, which belongs to a new generation of biological drugs, yielded extraordinary results to the point that the FDA approved it for "compassionate use" (the use of an investigational drug outside a clinical trial by patients with life-threatening conditions) and it will be given for free to terminally ill patients. It is also be fast tracked for approval, which is expected by October.
"One of my patients who suffered metastatic melanoma in very critical condition entered the trial, and within six weeks his body was completely clean of cancer," said Schachter. He stressed that because of the biological nature of the drug; its side effects are minimal and allows patients optimal quality of life.
Merck, the American company that developed the drug, has a department in Israel called MSD, which operates a research division working in tandem with medical centers in Israel.
"We are on our way to turn melanoma a treatable chronic disease," said Schachter. "We are also seeing positive results in other types of cancer such as the urinary bladder, head neck and lungs". Prof. Alise Reicin, who heads the American team that developed the drug, termed it "definitely a breakthrough in the war against cancer".
Meanwhile, Carter's friends at Hamas are still working on a drug to create suicide bombers....