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Spectacular cancer treatment breakthrough

Prevention is always better than cure, but we are obviously hoping that this will also work for Asbestos related illness.

Terminally ill cancer patients could be "effectively cured" of the disease using a powerful new combination of drugs described by scientists as heralding a once-in-a-generation advance in treatment.

A British-led trial brought "spectacular" results with more than half of patients with advanced melanoma seeing tumours shrink or brought under control using the drugs.

Prof Roy Herbst, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Centre in the US, said the treatment, which uses the body's immune system to attack cancerous cells, could potentially replace chemotherapy as the standard cancer treatment within five years.

"I think we are seeing a paradigm shift in the way oncology is being treated," he said. "The potential for long-term survival, effective cure, is definitely there."

Dr James Larkin, a consultant at the Royal Marsden hospital and one of the UK's lead investigators, told the BBC: "By giving these drugs together you are effectively taking two brakes off the immune system rather than one, so the immune system is able to recognise tumours it wasn't previously recognising and react to that and destroy them.

"For immunotherapies, we've never seen tumour shrinkage rates over 50% so that's very significant to see. This is a treatment modality that I think is going to have a big future for the treatment of cancer."

Eminent oncologist Prof Karol Sikora, the dean of the University of Buckingham's medical school, cautioned against expectations of "miraculous breakthroughs" from the latest discoveries.

"The prolongation of survival from these very expensive immune therapies is often a matter of weeks or months and we've got to make it long-lasting and that has to be our priority.

"I'm afraid it's mixed news. There are breakthroughs coming, there is hope for cancer, that we will do much better in the future. It's slow progress, rather than miraculous breakthroughs, as it's likely to be reported."


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Happy to announce that we have found a very positive asbestos related reference to this treatment here

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