the fight against Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a rare but deadly form
of skin cancer, a small study for the drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab)
has had promising results. Dr. Paul Nghiem, a professor of medicine at
the University of Washington, gave Keytruda to 26 patients who had
advanced MCC. Over half of the patients (56 percent) saw their cancer
shrink, while in four patients the to re-establish a personís
ability to kill off cancer cells."
Wong, this study and several others like it are transforming the way
doctors treat cancer and improving the prognosis of their patients.
"Now that we know this class of drugs works, we have many goals
to make these drugs work better," he says.
kinds of cancers are complicated and not straightforward, so getting
care from lots of team members can be helpful," adds Wong, who
specializes in head and neck cancers. "Cancer is super
specialized, so you need to find a highly specialized doctor. You donít
get good at taking care of a type of cancer unless you do it a lot.
Each of our oncologists focuses in on a few diseases so that theyíre
experts on them."
In the next
decade, Wong and his colleagues at Froedtert & the Medical College
of Wisconsin will be designing studies that combine immune-stimulating
agents, allowing the body to fight the cancer. Hopefully, the
combination of different drugs will benefit many patients in their
battle against cancer. m