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Jimmy Carter is trying a new drug Keytruda to fight cancer. "It's a new class of therapy. It allows our own immune system to fight cancer."

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It was brave of Jimmy Carter to volunteer for this treatment.

Carter, 90, has already had his first infusion of the drug, known as Keytruda. It harnesses the immune system to fight melanoma that has spread through the body. Carter also told reporters he would undergo targeted radiation to his brain on Thursday afternoon. 

"I'll be prepared for anything that comes," he said. 

Keytruda — known generically as pembrolizumab — targets genes called PD-1 and PD-L1. The interaction between the two genes lets some tumors escape detection and destruction by immune system cells that normally prevent cancer from spreading in the body. 

Cancer experts say while Carter will never be cured, the drug has had startling effects in a few people, and at the worst shouldn't make him too sick — even at age 90.

"It's really a whole new class of therapy, and as president Carter said, it really allows our own immune system to fight a cancer," said Dr. Wally Curran of Emory University, an expert in brain tumors who is involved in Carter's treatment.


And a cure is not the goal, said Curran. "We're not looking for cure in patients who have a disease like melanoma that's spread," he said. "What we're seeing in some types of cancer which may not be curable is long-term life with a good quality of life." 

That means keeping the tumors from growing, spreading and causing symptoms, even if they are never eradicated. 

I am overwhelmed to read this. All seriously ill patients need the very best care they can get. I am working on a project very very dear to my heart, which is a 3 stage comprehensive support program on non medicinal aspects of patient care. I want to change the way patients look at illness and look at the world. I want to make a difference, any which way I can!! 

Milind you have a very good attitude.

Every day I read about new advancements in medicine but it's also important to make advancements in how we treat each other. 

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