Topic: A new class of drugs is being deployed in the struggle against cancer.

From the Economist, a good article on Immunotherapy.

A new class of drugs is being deployed in the struggle against cancer.

"This, then, is good news for those with melanoma. But the most intriguing paper of the series was delivered by Roy Herbst, who also works at Yale. He and his colleagues are testing MPDL3280A in a trial open to people who have any type of metastatic or otherwise incurable tumour—those, in other words, for whom established treatments offer no hope. Preliminary results suggest a fifth of the 140 patients in this trial are responding. And, as in the case of Dr Wolchok’s work, these responses are long-lasting.

The crucial point in the MPDL3280A trial is that those who have responded have a range of cancers—not just melanoma. What was once a treatment specifically for melanoma now looks as if it might work for at least some cases of half a dozen common cancers. If such results are confirmed by future studies, a new front will have opened in the war on cancer. Moreover, the troops on this front will be not untested conscripts but confederates who are familiar with the enemy and just needed a little encouragement to join the battle. Sun Tzu would surely have approved." … checkpoint

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