Learning a bit more about Keytruda

Learning a bit more about Keytruda

Keytruda, the drug many are attributing to President Jimmy Carter’s brain cancer recovery, is an engineered immune protein called a monoclonal antibody that disrupts a cloaking effect the tumor takes, which helps it escape detection and destruction by immune system cells. It targets the activity of genes called PD-1 and PD-L1, which can stop immune cells from attacking healthy cells by mistake.

 FDA & Keytruda

The Food and Drug Administration accelerated its approval process for Keytruda, and many have experienced positive effects after years of other treatments. A large study, led by Dr. Antoni Ribas of UCLA, showed tumors shrink 90 percent in a third of the cases.  Ribas says between 70 and 80 percent of patients saw their tumors shrink thanks to how Keytruda allows the immune system do its job – beat malignant cell developments throughout the body.

One case, Kathy Thomas of Torrance, California, tried all sorts of immune therapies causing horrible side effects before trying Keytruda in 2012. After two weeks of treatment, she saw her hair grow back and regained healthy weight. As of 2015, Kathy is walking three miles a day, and she kicked away the wheelchair she’d been relegated too for years. She says, “I am fat and happy.”

Doctors are unsure as to why not all patients on Keytruda are responding as well, knowing tumors utilize different tricks to mask their presence in the body could be the answer. They maintain that Keytruda is not the only answer, and that other treatments, such as radiation and surgery, complete the process to eliminating tumors.

Keytruda Gives “Cautious Hope”

Nevertheless, Keytruda has given “cautious hope” to some patients suffering from brain cancer tumors.  More to follow…