Un virus para elimnar el cancer?
BY THE NUMBERS, the newest FDA-approved treatment for skin cancer doesn’t seem a real game changer. A $65,000 course of treatment extends melanoma patients’ lives by less than four and a half months, on average—and that result is barely statistically significant.
It’s how the new drug—Imlygic, made by the biotechnology company Amgen—works that has the oncology world so worked up. Imlygic is a virus—alive and infectious, the first to get a stamp of approval in the US for its ability to attack cancer cells. It opens a whole new front in the fight against cancer, which has the sneaky habit of coming back after chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. “It is a totally new class of weapons that we can now use,” says Antonio Chiocca, a neurosurgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. And the armory could be bigger, because coming up right behind Imlygic are over a dozen clinical trials for more anti-cancer viruses.