Roche, the pharmaceutical conglomerate, developed a new immunotherapy based on a new drug called Tecentriq. A group of researchers tested the effectiveness of the product by choosing a group of patients with metastatic bladder cancer that were not eligible for the standard cisplatin chemotherapy.
Dr. Arjun Balar of New York University Langone Medical Center, who is also the leader of the study, said that more than 30 percent of the treated patients had a better result with the new method. He said Tecentriq should be made the first countermeasure against bladder cancer.
“In my opinion it absolutely needs to be considered as a potential new first-line standard of care,” said Balar, who was presenting the data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology scientific meeting in Chicago.
The new drug forms part of the new wave of inhibitors that have proven very effective at extending the expectancy of life in advanced cancer patients. They work by letting the body detect the disease. Cancer is very troublesome in part because our immune system cannot see it. However, a new group of scientists discovered that our defense system has established parameters.
There is a lot of bacteria and different lifeforms in our body, and we need them, that is why our immune system is not set at a hundred percent. These new drugs called inhibitors unlock some of those abilities which let the body identify and naturally attack some forms of cancer. In fact, Former President Jimmy Carter has fantastic results using Keytruda, which would be a direct competitor of Tecentriq.
Medicaid could help patients who cannot afford the new drugs
Roche released the new medicine, and it costs $12,500 per month. That price can become a barrier impossible to overcome for most people but they are not alone in that regard. Keytruda and Opdivo, which are similar drugs released by rival companies, have a similar cost. So far, there is no official state on the possibility of legal help via Medicaid. In fact, no insurance company has added inhibitors to the official list of drugs their service covers.
In spite of that, the results have proven incredible. There are some special cases where the disease’s advance literally stopped. In fact, some patients that have been using inhibitors to fight cancer are now in the remission state which is the best diagnosis a person can receive while having tumors.
The current initial treatment to tackle metastatic bladder cancer is cisplatin chemotherapy. The method has reported to extend the life of a patient for an average of 10 months. On the other hand, in tecentriq’s trials, the live expectancy of patients have been extended by an average of 14 months. In fact, from the 119 people that participated in the study, more than 30% reported tumor shrinkage.
These results give credibility to Dr. Balar’s claims, and the drug has been approved for the North American market. So far, there has no been talks of financial support for this kind of treatment.