Researchers pin hope on new treatment for aggressive eye cancer


A breakthrough clinical trial undertaken by researchers at the University of Liverpool shows how immunotherapy drug can prolong the life of patients of aggressive eye cancer. This is for the first time it is shown that a new eye cancer treatment can improve survival rates for individuals with secondary uveal melanoma and can also reduce the size of tumors in small number of patients.

Clinically, uveal melanoma is the most common type of eye cancer among adults in the UK and many individuals can be treated for this with the help of proton beam therapy.

However, in about half number of patients of cancer, the disease spreads to other parts of the body mainly the liver, and if this happens only around 50% of patients survive for more than a year.

The clinical trial undertaken on 378 patients used the immunotherapy drug tebentafusp that works to destroy tumor cells. By composition, tebentafusp is a bispecific fusion protein that helps immune response cells to get closer to cancer cells to kill them.

The findings of the study have been recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the findings say that tebentafusp should now become the key route to treat eye cancer.

According to the finding, patients who were treated with tebentafusp survived an average of 21.7 months compared with 16 months for those who were given alternate therapies. In addition, 9% patients who were treated with tebentafusp witnessed reduced size of tumor compared with 5% of people treated with some other therapy. Furthermore, side effects of using tebentafusp were seen to be manageable and the severity also reduced as the course of the treatment progressed.

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