“Cancer” is a word that has become quite common in our daily lives. Even though the condition can be conveyed easily with the body part as a prefix, it is not a pleasant experience. In 2018, about 9.5 million people had lost their life due to cancer. This is enough to know that this one is serious. The good news is scientists have discovered a revolutionary experimental drug that decreases almost half the percentage risk of death among patients with rare but dangerous eye cancer.
It’s A Start For Eye Cancer
Tebentafusp is the name of that elixir drug, which has increased life expectancy in patients suffering from “Uveal Melanoma.” Uveal Melanoma is a type of eye tumor that originates from the pigment cells in the eyes, which causes blindness and subsequently spreads to other parts of the body leading to death. This disease has no medical cure to date, and there have been no advancements in the field for the past 50 years.
Patients who are diagnosed with it are treated with immunotherapy or chemotherapy, which has its share of side effects. Since it was an experimental trial, the patients who were administered Tebentafusp shared almost the same risk as to the ones who undergo chemotherapy, and the experiment has emerged as a success.
The findings from the research indicate as noted by clinical trial researcher Dr. Jessica Hassel, that Tebentafusp has relatively decreased the chances of death in patients diagnosed with metastasized uveal melanoma and increased their odds of survival. By far, it is the only drug with proven recovery results in patients suffering from uveal melanoma, and the drug has also shown substantial recovery in patients with progressed melanoma.
If we were to get to know the disease in depth, then we find that uveal melanoma is a rare condition and yet common kind of eye cancer, which affects mostly adults. There are no known risk factors, and it’s not hereditary.
Dr. Hassel says there has been no substantial advancement in the field of treatment, and the patients die within years post-diagnosis due to cancer spreading to other body parts. Usually, uveal melanoma cases are operated on or radiated upon based on the size of the tumour, but once cancer spreads to the liver, no standard of treatment is useful.
The results were notable, and there was a proper increase in the life expectancy in the patients treated with Tebentafusp compared to the patients who were treated with chemo and other immunity drugs. However, there is a slight downside to the drug as there are noted side effects on the skin during the primary treatment cycle and also a subsequent effect on the immune system called inflammatory “cytokine storm” caused due to overstimulation.
Based on these results, Tebentafusp has been granted a breakthrough therapy designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company responsible for the clinical trial funding is Immunocore, a privately owned British clinical-stage biotechnology company based in Oxfordshire, Britain.
The drug is estimated to be better than the existing modes of treatment, and further research is also being conducted in using Tebentafusp along with other immunity-boosting medication for other types of the disease.