Immunotherapy opened doors for a new to cure cancer. Results of clinical trials released on Monday showed the potential of immunotherapy in treating advanced cases of cancer, particularly bladder cancer. In the study, researchers analyzed atezolizumab, an antibody, to know whether it can reduce the tumors and they were excited by the results.
"We are encouraged to see that atezolizumab immunotherapy may help address this major unmet need," said Arjun Vasant Balar, a medical doctor and assistant professor of medicine at the New York University.
Participants of the trials were patients with metastatic bladder cancer who were ineligible for standard chemotherapy. About 24 percent of them showed a reduction in tumor size, gaining more confidence in Tecentriq, the first and only PD-L1 inhibitor approved by the Food and Drug Association.
But how much will a session of this promising treatment cost? Opdivo (nivolumab), an antibody drug used in immunotherapy, is valued with a six-digit figure in dollars while Yervoy (ipilimumab) is priced at $157 per mg, much to the surprise of many hopefuls.
In 2013, one of the many doctors who expressed concerns over the high cost of the promising new treatment, Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., has led a petition over the high-valued immunotherapy drugs. He said the prices of the treatment led 1 in 10 patients to stop treatment. While the promising new treatment gave a lot of people hope, it has actually been quite expensive to afford.
However, no matter how discouraging prices have been, it is now a fact that immunotherapy has been showing positive results continually, raising the chances of most patients with advanced cases of cancer at survival. The treatment has also been promising longer term of cure, which is what all cancer patients have been hoping.
Earlier this week, it has been reported that 47 percent of the 77 terminally ill cancer patients under a clinical trial of two immunotherapy drugs, nivolumab and ipilimumab, have survived a year. Most of them are still alive today. These two drugs have been used in combination at clinical trials more often as researchers believe that they work hand in hand.