Published On: Mon, Jun 20th, 2016

Successful cancer drug made in Israel? BBC won’t tell you

Breakthrough Israeli cancer treatment drug was approved in record time by the UK. BBC's report leaves out the "made in Israel" part.

cancer-cells

 

An Israeli-developed drug cocktail that has been shown to cure 58% of terminally ill cancer patients has been approved in record time by the National Health Service of the United Kingdom.

BBC, reporting the story, failed to mention that the drug was developed in Israel. So discovered Michael Ordman of Israel’s Good News Newsletter.

The Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, Israel, reported a year ago that Dr. Yaakov Schachter, head of Sheba’s Ella Institute, had developed the new combination of drugs – a discovery that was hailed by the scientific community as “a major breakthrough in cancer research.” Based on the drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab, the new medicine shrinks cancerous tumors or eliminates them altogether.

In its article of more than 600 words, BBC reported that “a pioneering pair of cancer drugs that unleash the immune system on tumours will be paid for by the NHS in England” and that the decision to approve the drugs “is one of the fastest in NHS history and is likely to be adopted throughout the UK.” The article goes on to sing the praises of the new drug, but does not divulge a word as to its Israeli origins.

BBC reported that in trials, the combination therapy shrank “the most aggressive and deadly type of skin cancer” in nearly 70% of patients. The new drug harnesses the body’s own defenses – a field known as immunotherapy – and gives “new hope” to cancer patients.

Ten years ago, according to BBC, patients with advanced and aggressive melanoma lived for an average of nine months, while today, patients that have been given the new cocktails are seeing a 20% rate of total cure, while more than half have seen their tumors shrink.
The Original story is here:

Cure For Terminal Cancer Discovered With Breakthrough Immunotherapy

Clinical trials of a new drug cocktail developed by Dr. Jacob Schachter, head of the Ella Institute at Sheba Medical Center, have been shown to cure 58 percent of terminally-ill patients by shrinking cancerous tumors or eliminating them altogether. The scientific community is hailing this discovery as a major breakthrough in cancer research.

The new cocktail is a form of immunotherapy, a relatively new class of drugs that harness the body’s immune system to extinguish fatal tumors. Prof. Jacob Schachter, who took part in the development of the drug and in the recent clinical trials, told Israel’s Channel 10 that the newfound drug cocktail could serve as the basis of treatment for many types of cancer, potentially replacing chemotherapy. “It’s an explosion, ” he said.

In one of the trials, over half of the terminally ill patients saw their tumors shrink or disappear completely. The drug, which was developed by a team led by Schachter, was used in an international study led by Dr. James Larkin of UK’s Royal Marsden Hospital. The results of the study were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The worldwide clinical trial involved 945 patients, suffering from advanced (or metastatic) melanoma, which causes 55, 000 deaths annually and is considered the deadliest type of skin cancer, according to the World Health Organization. Since melanoma is typically treated by chemotherapy, radiations and/or surgery, this cocktail gives new hope to thousands of families.

“Significantly more effective”

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), to whom Schachter and his colleagues from around the globe presented their findings this week, for patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma, the combination of immunotherapy drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab were “significantly more effective at delaying cancer progression than ipilimumab alone.”

The two drugs were previously used separately, but the groundbreaking study shows that combining them leads to much better results. This study “provides a powerful new immunotherapy option for patients with melanoma, ” according to the ASCO.

Schachter, head of the Ella Institute at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, told Channel 10 that the side effects of this new drug are fewer than those of chemotherapy. It’s important to note, however, that the new drug is still experimental at this stage, and is not available on the market.

The melanoma findings were among several cancer studies presented this week at ASCO’s annual meeting in Chicago. “These advances are expected to immediately influence oncology practice, leading to improved survival and quality of life for patients, ” ASCO said in a statement.

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