It’s early days, but researchers are making great strides in the search for alternatives to chemo.

Cancer that won't need chemo

The latest study, led by scientists from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, has found that some people with the most common kind of leukaemia – chronic lymphocytic leukaemia – did better with an anticancer drug called ibrutinib than those who were given chemo.

When treated with ibrutinib, cancers progressed more slowly, the patients responded better to treatment, and the survival rate was 98% after 2 years vs 85% for those on chemo.

The advantage of ibrutinib is that it targets tumour cells specifically. Lead scientist Dr Jan Burger said: “The big message is that there is a major difference between the two groups. The ibrutinib patients are doing much better in every aspect in terms of their response rates.”


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