Yes! Now the prostate cancer patients with hardly weeks or months to live will be able to survive longer if they are subjected to proper immunotherapy treatment.

The recent study with a drug named pembrolizumab was worked out with those who are at the very advanced stage of the prostate cancer. The observations of the survey infer that more than third enrolled patients were alive and about one in ten patients, there was no significant growth in their cancer cells. According to the researchers, the immunotherapy treatment with the pembrolizumab is first of its kind to show beneficial effects to such an extent.

Professor Johann de Bono says, “I have these men who are dying, with weeks to months to live, whom we gave this drug to and had complete responses. Their cancers shrunk, disappeared actually, with minimal cancer left on scans. These are amazing results, and these are men whose cancers had all the treatments, they had everything possible, they’ve got no treatments left, and they are in trouble. They have very short life spans left.”Professor Johann de Bono is the director of the drug development cell.

What is immunotherapy?

The immunotherapy is a type of medical treatment wherein the body’s immune system gets stimulated. As a result, the stimulated immune system recognizes and fights the cancer cells present in the body. The immunotherapy is used for the treatment of cancers of the advanced stage including the cancers of lung and melanoma.

Previous clinical trials using the immunotherapy approach were unsuccessful proved to be unsuccessful in treating the prostate cancer patients efficiently. The recent research focused on the tumor genetics and inferred that a particular group of the prostate cancer patients might be benefited with the current immunotherapy.

Professor Bono concludes, “This new trial has found that testing for mutations in DNA repair genes could be a valuable marker of who will respond. If we can prove that in the planned new trial, it should be possible to provide some men with advanced prostate cancer with an exciting new treatment option.”

The study will focus on marker identification of those prostate cancer patients whose a tumor may shrink post the immunotherapy treatment.