A new drug appears to have cured a man with advanced skin cancer who had been given just months to live.
The drug is named pembrolizumab and doctors say it is the only explanation for the “miraculous” outcome in Mr Warwick Steele’s case.
It is part of a new generation of treatments that prevent cancers shielding themselves from the immune system and although it is still in the early stages it has been hailed as “astonishing” by Mr Steele’s consultant, Dr David Chao.
Pembrolizumab was tested on melanoma, the most serious form of cancer, because survival prospects for patients with advanced forms of this cancer is bleak.
Results show that just under 70 per cent of the 411 patients taking part in the trial were still alive one year after starting on the treatment.
Mr Steele had undergone a six month treatment plan where pembrolizumab was injected into his bloodstream. After three months his tumours had shrunk and have continued to get smaller as time goes on.
Dr Chao spoke to the The Independent UK about Mr Steele’s case: “We cannot say for certain that he’s been cured, but he is doing very well. He was aware that without an effective treatment his survival prospects were not good – maybe months”.
The consultant also said that these results may benefit other types of cancer: “This is one of several new drugs of this type being produced. What these early trials are showing is that they are fulfilling their promise ridiculously fast.
“Some of these results are really astonishing; almost jaw-dropping. And these drugs may be applicable to many different cancer types, including ones that are hard to treat, such as lung cancer”.