Three out of four patients with the cancerous forms of gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) went into remission after receiving the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab in a clinical trial carried out by researchers at Imperial College London.
The trial, which took place at Charing Cross Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, is the first to show that pembrolizumab can be used to successfully treat women with GTD.
The team hopes that this small early stage study, published in The Lancet, could provide another treatment option for women who have drug-resistant GTD and lead to a 100 per cent cure rate.
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Professor Michael Seckl, lead author of the study, said, “We have been able to show for the first time that immunotherapy may be used to cure patients of cancerous GTD. The current treatments to tackle GTD cure most cases of the disease. However, there are a small number of women whose cancers are resistant to conventional therapies and as a result have a fatal outcome. Immunotherapy may be a life-saving treatment and can be used as an alternative to the much more toxic high dose chemotherapy that is currently used. These are landmark findings that have implications on how we treat the disease in the UK and around the world.”
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