Around 5,000 deaths in the UK are caused by bladder cancer each year, but British scientists may be one step closer to notably reducing this number.
A new treatment for the disease has been shown to completely cure some patients in what is the first significant breakthrough in bladder cancer research in 30 years.
Scientists from Queen Mary University, London, have discovered that the immune system is able to recognise and eradicate cancer cells before they can spread when a patient is given a new drug.
The new antibody, called MPDL3280A, was trialled on 68 people with advanced bladder cancer after all other treatments known had failed.
Tumours shrunk for more than half of the patients after the received the new treatment for 12 weeks.
Two of the patients were completely cured of the disease.
“This study is a hugely exciting step forward in the search for alternative and effective advanced bladder cancer treatment,” Dr Tom Powles, Lead Author and Consultant Medical Oncologist, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London told The Telegraph.
“For decades chemotherapy has been the only option, with a poor outcome and many patients too ill to cope with it."
More research is now needed to confirm the findings, but the team at Queen Mary hope to help thousands of people affected by bladder cancer shortly.
The drug has been given "breakthrough" designation status by the US Drug and Food Administration so that further trials can be processed without delay.
The study is published in the journal Nature.