New hope for lung cancer patients: OHC doctors report immunotherapy is changing a fatal cancer into a chronic condition
New research has just been published showing promising results for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) five years after treatment.
Historically, NSCLC has been universally considered a fatal disease. Patients with stage 4 NSCLC who were treated with traditional chemotherapy had a 5-year survival rate of only 2%.
Results from a recent study presented last month at the 2019 IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer in Barcelona, Spain, shows the rate increased to 13% when patients were treated with immunotherapy drugs. And OHC was at the forefront of this research.
“This is major,” said David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPH, medical oncologist, hematologist, and co-director of research at OHC who is a contributing author of this report. “This is the first time we’ve had 5-year data to review, to see how patients have been doing since starting the immunotherapy drug, Opdivo. The results are telling us that these patients are experiencing longer survival rates and reporting minimal side effects.”
OHC was one of the clinical trial locations with the highest number of study participants in the world and helped drive the results we are seeing today.
“We have patients here in the Greater Cincinnati area who participated in the clinical trials,” said Dr. Waterhouse. “Their outcomes reflect the findings, which basically means five years ago, we gave them the chance to return to the life they had before lung cancer.”
Patrick J. Ward, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, hematologist, and also co-director of research at OHC says there is another exciting finding from these trials.
“Of the patients who survived 5 years, some of them had stopped taking the drug for different amounts of time, and their cancer showed no signs of growth. This means that even after they stopped taking the drug, their cancer had not grown. That’s huge.”
The doctors caution that it’s still too early to consider immunotherapy a cure.
“This is extremely promising and our research team at OHC is excited with these recent findings and proud to be a part of life-changing treatments for patients,” Dr. Ward explained. “But we still can’t use the word ‘cure’ yet. What we can say is that treatments have advanced significantly in the last several years.”
“At one time, a diagnosis of lung cancer was usually terminal, and now we’re treating it, and many patients are living a full life. And soon, with continued research and clinical trials, we’ll be beating it,” Dr. Waterhouse added. “That said, there are still far too many people dying of this disease and we remain committed to bringing the newest and best treatments to these patients. We will not quit until all of these patients are long term survivors.”
OHC’s nationally-recognized clinical trials program provides patients with early access to promising new treatments. For more information or a list of clinical trials, visit https://www.ohcare.com/patient-resources/clinical-trials/available-trials/. If you’d like a second opinion, please visit ohcare.com or call 1-800-710-4674. To read more about the clinical trial results, visit MedPageToday at https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/iaslc/82074.