There are two significant immunotherapy cancer drugs used for treat of lung cancer, Opdivo and Keytruda. They have been used following a more traditional first line treatment such as chemotherapy. These drugs completed clinic trials in an attempt to be used as a first line treatment, thus sparing a patient of chemotherapy. Keytruda’s clinical trial was successful and Opdivo announced yesterday their drug had failed the trial, thus leaving it as a secondary treatment following chemo. Keytruda can now be used as a front line treatment for lung cancer.
It is not unusual to have a new drug designed for a radically new use to fail this type of trial. Often the manufacturer continues to research and later tests a modified drug successfully, and perhaps with an improved result.
Immunotherapy is a dramatic new field for treatment of the most serious types of cancer. Dr. Roy S. Herbst, a lung cancer specialist and chief of oncology at the Yale Cancer Center said, “I’ve never seen such a powerful tool”.
Research continues and will result in even more dramatic results.