A breakthrough drug combination could help patients who have been diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer. Initial results show this new treatment option works where traditional cancer treatments have failed.
So, what is this promising new drug combination and what does it mean for patients?
What is the new bowel cancer drug combo that has been approved?
The new drug combo approved for use on the NHS includes the Nivolumab and Ipilimumab drugs. This combination treatment was approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Both drugs included in the clinical trials are known to encourage the immune system to find and destroy cancer cells. They are immunotherapy drugs and are especially effective at destroying mutations of MSI-H tumours. These are rare and therefore stand out to the immune system, making it easier to attack them once it knows what to look for.
The combination treatment is provided intravenously. Patients receive four doses of the Ipilimumab drug every three weeks. The Nivolumab drug is provided monthly for a period of two years.
Why is it so promising?
The clinical trials for this combination treatment have proven to be successful. Approximately 65% of patients saw their tumour shrink after just two and a half months. In many of the patients, the cancer had shrunk so much it couldn’t be detected on a scan.
The majority of participants were still alive after 5 years, despite an initial grim prognosis. The potential for extending a patient’s life through this new treatment provides hope for thousands of people.
Your bowel cancer treatment options
Although this latest study is promising, it is worth noting that it is only suitable for advanced bowel cancer patients. Bowel cancer detected at an earlier stage may require different treatment.
Current bowel cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. There are some non-surgical options available, but these are only suitable for a small number of patients. Surgical treatments tend to be the most effective.
The type of surgical treatment offered will depend upon several factors such as the severity of the cancer and how fast it is spreading. Surgery to remove the parts of the diseased bowel tends to be the most effective option. The healthy parts of the bowel are then connected.
You will discover which treatment option is better suited to you during your consultation. It is important to seek treatment as quickly as possible when it comes to bowel cancer.
Undergoing regular screening is the best way to catch the disease early
Although the new treatment is currently only approved by NHS England, it is expected to be rolled out across other areas of the UK. If you suspect you have bowel cancer symptoms, getting diagnosed quickly is crucial. Book a consultation with Professor Jamie Murphy today to discover the best course of bowel cancer treatment to suit you.