Mr. President, You’re Cancer-Free
When a 91 year old has advanced cancer, the odds of survival are low.
During the summer, Jimmy Carter was given just weeks to live. Not only did the former president have melanoma, a type of skin cancer, but it had also spread to his brain.
Just a couple of years ago, Carter would probably not have lived to see the new year. But thanks to new cancer fighting drugs, he gets to live another day.
Although we will have to wait and see, right now Carter’s cancer is undetectable. MRI brain scans do not show any sign of his disease. Carter’s remission is a highly visible result of recent breakthroughs that enlist the immune system’s help in fighting cancer.
We usually think of the immune system as a way for our bodies to kill off infectious pathogens. However, this finely tuned machine is also tasked as a kind of biological “cop”, policing our cells and killing them when they malfunction.
Typically, our immune system does a very good job of this. None of us would survive for very long if it didn’t regularly seek out and destroy cells that have developed dangerous mutations.
Unfortunately malignant cancer cells often develop the ability to hide from our immune systems. They begin to secrete substances that fool the immune system and stop it from clearing out the cancer.
But now we have some of the first new drugs known as “checkpoint inhibitors.” They are a type of cancer immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, as you know, is a broad new frontier in the fight against cancer. Here’s why it’s so exciting…
Checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy treatments don’t work like your old cancer drugs, which do their job by killing tumors with toxins. These new drugs actively block cancer’s ability to hide from your immune system.
When the cancer can no longer hide, your immune system cells can destroy them. Promising as that sounds, it’s still just the start of immunotherapy’s big-picture potential.
That’s because new treatments that can block cancer’s anti-immune signaling mechanisms are synergistic with many other types of existing cancer therapy, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. They even promise to work well with other kinds of immunotherapy like cancer vaccines.
Since many different cancer types use checkpoints to block the immune system, these therapies have the potential to save many lives in many different kinds of cancer. In Carter’s case, the new drug was used in combination with surgery and radiation therapy.
These drugs have only recently hit the market, but they are already racking up impressive sales in the fight against cancer:
- Four years ago, the FDA approved the first-ever checkpoint inhibitor, called Yervoy. Yervoy blocks an immune checkpoint used by cancer cells called CTLA-4. In 2011 it was cleared for use against advanced melanoma. In 2014 this drug racked up global sales in excess of $1.3 billion—making it Bristol-Myers Squibb’s second best-selling cancer drug.
- In September 2014, the FDA approved Merck’s Keytruda—also for advanced melanoma. Keytruda blocks a different immune system checkpoint called PD-1. Although this drug is still very new on the market and is only just starting to ramp up sales, it nevertheless generated $192 million for the Merck in the first six months of this year. Keytruda, by the way, is the drug being credited with helping Jimmy Carter survive.
- A year ago this month, the FDA approved a second PD-1 inhibitor developed at Bristol-Myers Squibb called Opdivo, also for use against advanced melanoma. The drug has since been approved to treat lungand kidney cancer.
These three drugs are just the beginning. And it’s not just big pharmaceutical giants like Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck making the breakthroughs. Blockbusters will also come from small biotechnology companies you’ve probably never heard of. There will be incredible profit opportunities in some of these names.
I expect the number of new checkpoint-inhibitors available to patients to keep growing….
…and happy survival stories to keep mounting.
But what you may not know is that some people saw this cure coming, long before Jimmy Carter was even diagnosed.
One man in particular, Juan Enriquez, has been predicting the ebbs and flows of the biotech world with eerie accuracy for ages.
And his recently released book, Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Changing Life on Earth, is chock-full of predictions…
I’d love to send you a copy of the book. I think you’ll find it invaluable…
Not only as a source of information for your own enlightenment, but as a kind of road map for navigating the ever-changing landscape of the biotech world, a place that can be especially lucrative for those who are open-minded and well informed…
All you have to do is follow this link now to find out how you can get your hands on it.
To a bright future,