Israeli-Researched Drug Helps Jimmy Carter Beat Cancer
A breakthrough Israeli-researched drug is credited for assisting former US President Jimmy Carter, a pro-Palestinian activist, in his battle with cancer.
Former US President Jimmy Carter, known for his anti-Israel activism, is crediting the cancer drug Keytruda for shrinking his tumors. The drug, in fact, was researched in Israel, with promising results.
Carter, author of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which blames Israel for the Arab-Israeli conflict and falsely accuses the Jewish state of practicing apartheid, announced Sunday that doctors found no evidence of the four lesions discovered on his brain this summer and no signs of new cancer growth. He credits his recovery to Keytruda, a recently approved immunotherapy drug, which, in fact, was researched at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv under the leadership of Professor Jacob Schachter.
Keytruda, “which has helped 50% of patients with metastatic melanoma with minimum side effects (in September 2014), was approved by the Ministry of Food and Drug Administration of America (FDA), under the accelerated procedure. Many experts suggest that this drug can lead to a real breakthrough in the treatment of cancer,” according to ResultMed, an Israeli medical services center. “The drug is considered as a treatment for lung cancer, ovarian cancer and others.”
Carter, 91, revealed in August that he had been diagnosed with melanoma and begun treatment, including surgery to remove part of his liver, targeted radiation therapy and doses of Keytruda to help his immune system seek out any new cancer cells.
Carter said he will continue every three weeks to receive Keytruda, a type of immunotherapy that melanoma specialists credit for improving treatment of the disease without the side effects of traditional chemotherapy drugs that can cause hair loss and other symptoms.
Doctors caution, however, that they are still learning about the long-term effect of Keytruda and similar drugs, which have only received approval for wide patient use in the last five years.
According to Dr. Douglas Johnson, a melanoma specialist at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center who is not involved with Carter’s treatment, “So many cancer treatments can be effective in the short-term, causing tumors to shrink.” Immunotherapy, however, “in at least a subset of patients, has truly long-lasting responses.”
Doctors will continue to scan Carter’s brain and the rest of his body to ensure the disease hasn’t spread, Johnson said, explaining that the scans typically are done every three months
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