A study at the annual ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology meetings report a 31% partial remission rate in malignant melanoma with the immune modulator nivolumab. 31% of patients responded to this drug showing a 1/3 decrease in size of the tumor masses and 1 complete remission.
31% is a minority of patients but this rate of response far exceeds the 5-10% rate of other agents used in melanoma. Yes I said 5-10%.
This is not a cure but there is clear progress evident with this new drug. Whether this will be sustained remissions with a significant survival benefit, as appears likely, remains to be fully proven.
Medicynical Note: The cost of this new agent will be interesting to track. An unaffordable drug has the same impact as the sound generated by a tree falling in the woods.