BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Patients who survived chemotherapy in previous years are receiving a new dose of the cancer-fighting drug at the same time they get a second round of chemotherapy, raising the chances of them surviving another round.
A European Union-wide study of 607 patients found that the risk of dying from melanoma had dropped from 17.4 percent to 11.4 per 100,000 patients, a result that may have been boosted by a boost in the use of the chemotherapy drugs, known as interferon beta-1a (IFN-alpha).
A similar effect has been seen in people treated with the older drugs.
“The reduction in melanoma deaths from interferons and the improvement in survival rates are quite significant, and it’s the second consecutive year that we have seen a significant reduction,” said Dr. Paul E. Fusaro, a senior scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study.
The effect of the new interferonic therapy is expected to be even greater in Europe, where the United States has the highest rates of the disease in the world.
The research was published in the journal Lancet on Tuesday.
The researchers said it showed that the use, and the level of resistance to, the drugs was the main driver behind the improvement.
In the United Kingdom, melanoma has declined by 70 percent since the first generation of interferonal drugs was introduced in 2004.
It has been reduced to a manageable level in some cases, but more than half the country still has some form of melanoma, including a small percentage of people over 60.
European leaders have tried to reduce the cancer risk among older people and have introduced more interferony drugs to treat the disease.
In the United Arab Emirates, for example, the number of people aged 65 and over with melanoma dropped from 1.5 million in 2009 to 2 million last year.
The new interferes with the immune system, so the immune response is weakened, and more cancer cells are able to enter the body.
In some patients, the resistance of melanomas to interferonics can be so severe that they can cause death.
In others, they are so resistant that they cannot be treated.
The interferronic drugs are also being used in a different way.
In some cases patients have developed immune suppression that can cause infections and even cancer.
In Europe, they were first developed in the 1990s, when a small number of drugs were tested on patients with melanomas.
The drugs used a combination of the drugs that had been used before.
The European Commission, which oversees the drug industry, said the new drugs could also reduce the rate of melanomeningocele, a rare and fatal cancer of the melanocytes, the white cells that make up skin and hair.
“We expect to see a decrease in melanomas, as the interferonian therapy is now available on a smaller scale in Europe,” said Eero Salonen, a spokeswoman for the European Medicines Agency.
“But this does not mean that people who have already been treated with interferonia will benefit from this therapy.
It will require longer treatment for those patients who have not already been cured.”
The drugs were originally developed in Europe to treat skin cancer and to stop the spread of cancer cells.
They are also used to treat tumors in the eyes, the bladder and other organs.