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HuffPost What's Working Honor Roll: The Two Drugs Giving Doctors New Hope For Long-Term Cancer Treatment

06/01/2015 12:48 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2015
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A new form of cancer treatment is giving doctors and patients hope for a long-term cure to the deadly disease.

The BBC's James Gallagher writes about a new trial experiment conducted in the UK using the drugs ipilimumab and nivolumab, which showed “spectacular” results for almost 60 percent of the cases tested.

The international trial, using 945 patients with advanced melanoma, found that the combination of the drugs was able to stop the tumor from growing for about a year in 58 percent of cases.

"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," oncologist Dr. James Larkin told BBC News.

He said the effectiveness of using both drugs together points to a "big future for the treatment of cancer."

The need for this kind of treatment is dire. Nearly 9,940 people are projected to die of melanoma in 2015, along with another 73,870 new diagnoses, according to the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Roy Herbst, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center, told The Guardian that the trial is proof of a "paradigm shift in the way oncology is being treated."

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