A highly personalized medical technique is allowing patients with advanced kidney cancer to live nearly three times as long as they normally do. In an experiment involving 21 patients, around half lived more than two and half years after diagnosis with kidney cancer that had begun to spread. Five patients are alive after more than five years.
“That seems to be out of proportion with what you would expect for any commercial therapy and longer than what you would expect from patients with similar prognostic variables,” says Robert Figlin, an oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute in Los Angeles, who is leading the study.
The findings are part of a large wave of positive results coming from a class of oncology treatments called cancer immunotherapies. Many drug companies, large and small, are working on treatments that instigate the immune system to attack cancer (see “The Revival of Cancer Immunotherapy”). There are a variety of methods for revving up immune cells. In some cases, like the experimental kidney cancer treatment, doctors train a patient’s own white blood cells to spot a cancer cell among its harmless neighbors.
Read the full, original story: Biotech Makes Personalized Cancer Vaccines Using Tumor Samples