Israeli breakthrough drug helped cure Jimmy Carter’s cancerDec. 9, 2015
Israeli-tested drug that tackles cancer through sophisticated manipulations of the body’s natural immune system was key in helping rid former US president Jimmy Carter of life-threatening tumors that developed after he was diagnosed with melanoma earlier this year.
Researched in Israel by Professor Jacob Schachter of the Ella Institute for melanoma treatment and research at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Keytruda is part of a promising new class of drugs called immunotherapies, which harness the body’s immune system to help fight cancer.
The US-based Merck pharmaceutical company’s injectable biotech drug works by blocking a protein found in certain tumors called PD-1, which inhibits the body’s natural response to cancer cells.
Carter, 91, announced Sunday that doctors found no evidence of the four lesions discovered on his brain this summer and no signs of new cancer growth. He revealed in August that he had been diagnosed with melanoma and had begun treatment, including surgery to remove part of his liver, targeted radiation therapy and doses of a recently approved drug to help his immune system seek out any new cancer cells.
“I will continue to receive regular 3-week immunotherapy treatments of pembrolizumab,” he said. That drug goes by the name Keytruda commercially.
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