The team at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London obtained „spectacular”results in some cases of patients with terminal prostate cancer using drugs that boost the immune system.
Some were "effectively cancer-free." Drug pembrolizumab was used. The therapy not works however for all patients. Only between 10% and 15% of patients had any response. It seems to work incredibly well for a handful of patients, have a temporary effect in others, and do nothing for the rest. Now the research tries to determine who is eligible and why. The team in London have seen hints that it works best in patients with the most heavily-mutated cancers. Immunotherapy is also part of routine practice for some skin and lung cancers at this time.
Although immunotherapy is exciting, it can have severe side effects including lung inflammation (with some fatal cases) and inflammation of endocrine organs that caused inflammation of the pituitary gland, of the thyroid (causing both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in different people), and pancreatitis. People have also had colon inflammation, liver inflammation, kidney inflammation due to the drug The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Pembrolizumab is an IgG4 isotype antibody that blocks a protective mechanism of cancer cells, and allows the immune system to destroy them. In 2017 the FDA approved it for any unresectable or metastatic solid tumor with certain genetic anomalies.