Biggest cervical cancer drug advance in 20 years announced

Biggest cervical cancer drug advance in 20 years announced
Image: KU Cancer Center

“Scientists say they may have made the biggest breakthrough in treating cervical cancer in 20 years, using a course of existing, cheap drugs ahead of usual radiotherapy treatment,” reports the BBC:

Trial findings, revealed at the ESMO medical conference, show the approach cut the risk of women dying from the disease or the cancer returning by 35%.

Cancer Research UK, which funded the work, called the results “remarkable”.

It hopes clinics will soon start doing the same for patients.

Cervical cancer affects thousands of women each year…many in their early 30s. Despite improvements in radiotherapy care, cancer returns in up to a third of cases, meaning new approaches are very much needed.

Dr Iain Foulkes, from Cancer Research UK, said: “Timing is everything when you’re treating cancer.

“A growing body of evidence is showing the value of additional rounds of chemotherapy before other treatments like surgery and radiotherapy in several other cancers. Not only can it reduce the chances of cancer coming back, it can be delivered quickly using drugs already available worldwide.

“We’re excited for the improvements this trial could bring to cervical cancer treatment and hope short courses of induction chemotherapy will be rapidly adopted in the clinic.”

In the study, 250 women with cervical cancer received the new treatment – an intensive six-week course of carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy, followed by the “usual” treatment of radiotherapy plus weekly cisplatin and brachytherapy, known as chemoradiation.

Another 250 women – the control group – received only the usual chemoradiation.

Five years later, 80% of those who had received the new treatment were alive and 73% had not seen their cancer return or spread.

In comparison in the “usual” treatment group, 72% were alive and 64% had not seen their cancer return or spread….

Because the two chemotherapy drugs are cheap, accessible and already approved for use in patients, experts say they could become a new standard of care relatively quickly.

This is not the only recent medical advance. A new blood test can screen for 50 different cancers.

Doctors recently used a surgical robot to carry out incredibly complicated spinal surgery, and used a robot to do a liver transplant. Robots can fit in small spaces in people’s bodies that a surgeon can’t reach without cutting through living tissue.

Scientists recently came up with an “inverse vaccine” that has shown it can treat auto-immune diseases in a lab setting, so doctors might be able to use it to reverse multiple sclerosis. Note, however, that the FDA can take many years to approve life-saving drugs and medical devices.

90% of those with cystic fibrosis will get a new lease on life with a new breakthrough drug, assuming the FDA doesn’t block it.

A new ultrasound therapy could help treat cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and skull implants could fight depression.

Artificial wombs could be coming soon, to prevent premature babies from dying or being permanently disabled due to premature life outside the womb. Doctors are already beginning to do womb transplants. A woman who was previously unable to have children recently received her sister’s womb in the first womb transplant in the United Kingdom.

Artificial intelligence is now developing highly-effective antibodies to fight disease. Doctors overseas are using artificial intelligence to detect cases of breast cancer more effectively.

Scientists recently developed a treatment for alcoholism that reduces drinking by 90% among lab monkeys.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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