A revolutionary cancer treatment?

Higher Survival Rates

Bristol Myer's new cancer treatment drug Nivolumab (pronounced NYE-vol-U-Mab) is an immunotherapy that is combined with other drugs to treat melanoma, but indications are that it may also be effective for other cancers involving the lungs and kidneys.

NivolumabIn the investment world, analysts believe that in the next 5 years that the stock for Bristol Myers Squib could have a valuation increase greater than 25% thanks in part to the revenue per patient that this drug would create. (Note that this site does not give investment or medical advice, and the analyst who makes this claim is Andrew Baum of Citigroup.) The drug could be approved in 2014.

Immunotherapies themselves may represent a brand new wave in the treatment of cancer and revolutionize survival rates and expected outcomes. Analysts indicate that these therapies could add upwards of 40 billion dollars to the pharmaceutical industry. The description for nivolumab indicates that it is a human igG4 antibody blocking the programmed cell death-1 receptor.

Cancer Treatment Industry Growing

While it would seem that making money from the treatment of a deadly disease should not be a basis for profitability, the fact of the matter is that many lifesaving treatments are driven by the profit motive. Furthermore, the billions of dollars made on a new cancer treatment would offset the monies "lost" to hospitalization, higher insurance premiums, and even funeral expenses for those people who would have died. The earning value of the people who now get to live and contribute to the economy also can't be counted. As any survivor of a cancer victim also knows, the loss of a loved one cannot be measured in dollars, so a treatment that may prevent suffering and death (after chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery) would be worth much more than mere dollars.

Availability of Nivolumab and Use

Nivolumab is typically combined with Yervoy (ipilimumab) and has been shown to lead to deep tumor regression in a third of patients who have advanced melanoma. The response is shown to be quicker when the combination is used versus a single drug

In data presented in 2013 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the information about this combination approach involving Nivolumab was released to the public. Yervoy has already been approved by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and other research including nivolumab has already shown promising response rates. In scientific terms, these drug are antibodies which keep T cells from fully activating, and block PD-1 and CTLA-4 braking pathways. This apparently result in immune activation. The results were seen in patients with nonresectable stage 3 and 4 metastatic melanoma. The course of this cancer treatment in one test was four doses of ipilimumab and nivolumab, every 3 weeks, then nivolumab exclusively for 3 weeks and a combination treatment every three months at week 24. As much as sixty five percent o patients had their melanoma controlled and most of this group continued to respond as of the date of the study's release. For some of the more scientific information on the drug itself, it has a molecular formula of c6362-H9862-N1712-O1995-S42. The sponsor of the drug is Bristol Myers Squbb and it falls under the code designation of MDX-1106 and BMS-936558 with a CAS Registry Number of 946414-94-4.