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New drug 'wakes up' immune system to fight one of deadliest cancers.


Scanning electron microscope image of pancreatic cancer cells. Photograph: Steve Gschmeissner/Getty Images/Brand X

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Adding IMM-101 to the standard chemotherapy drug patients receive, gemcitabine, did not benefit those patients whose pancreatic cancer had spread locally, but it improved the lifespan of those whose cancer was metastatic – it had progressed into other parts of the body – and would be expected to die quickly. 

The results are published in the British Journal of Cancer. Most of the patients – 85% – had metastatic disease. Those who were just given the standard chemotherapy drug survived for a median of 4.4 months, but those who had the IMM-101 immunotherapy drug as well survived for seven months. But some lived for more than a year and one died after nearly three years.

What is this new drug?

"IMM-101 is called an “immune modulator”. It was originally being developed as a cancer vaccine, but was thought to have potential as an immunotherapy. It contains an inactivated bacterium."

I'd like to wake up my immune system even though I do not have cancer. 

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