A drug that was tested at San Antonio's START Center for Cancer Care is proving to be the gold standard for the new 'targeted cancer therapies,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The FDA has given approval to a drug called Keytruda to treat patients with several types of cancer, ranging from pancreatic, prostate, uterus and bone cancer, whose cancer had resisted every other form of treatment.
Keytruda underwent clinical trials at START and is best known as the drug that successfully treated Former President Carter's melanoma.
START Clinical Director Dr. Anthony Tolcher says Keytruda is an example of the new clas of drugs that help the immune system find cancer cells and attack tumors, regardless of the type of cancer that is involved.
"These treatments are very promising," he said. "This success in these patients is a great thing."
This is the first time that a cancer drug has been approved to treat a genetic profile, regardless of where the cancer has manifested itself in the body.
Dr. Tolcher says the great thing about these types of therapies is they also allow onclogists to determine the sorts of patients where the drugs will not be successful
"Before spending time, effort and money, we can learn that this particular therapy won't help."
Keytruda, Dr. Tolcher says, shows that the idea behind targeted therapies is successful, that targeting the immune system is a successful way to improve outcomes in certain patients, regardless of the type of cancer involved.
He says this gets us one step closer to the goal of conraining, and eventually eradicating, cancer.