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Video: Keytruda: Immunotherapy Against Cancer More Accessible In France
Keytruda, the flagship anticancer drug from the American laboratory Merck, will finally be accessible to a greater number of French people. This first treatment recognized as effective internationally, will now be fully reimbursed by Health Insurance.
Keytruda: immunotherapy against cancer more accessible in France
Pembrolizumab or Keytruda, its trade name, is an immunotherapy product that stimulates the immune system against cancer cells. Patients confided that the results were not long in coming. The first positive effects can be seen a few weeks after the first injection. A few months later, patients can already return to normal daily life. But how is this possible? Keytruda is a treatment product, called immunotherapy, against metastasized cancer, the role of which is to stimulate the immune system against cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, a physically exhausting method considered ineffective, Keytruda is much better tolerated. Remission allows patients to resume normal life,and this to such a point that some even forget their monthly hospital appointment.
The main problem with Pembrolizumab remains its very high price: 5,200 euros for injection in France. Fortunately, Keytruda will now be reimbursed by Health Insurance for four new indications: small cell cancer, bladder cancer, melanoma and Hodgkin's lymphoma. New indications are expected in 2020.
The total coverage of cancer drugs by Social Security will make immunotherapy accessible to as many people as possible. The extension of the indications for treatment in lung cancer is reassuring news because chemotherapy would no longer be the only treatment solution against metastasized cancer. In addition to being very invasive and physically exhausting the patient, it attacks all cells, without distinguishing those that are sick and healthy. So the Keytruda could be a real revolution in cancer treatment. The therapy is done intravenously, once a month. In addition to its internationally recognized efficacy, immunotherapy allows patients to lead a normal life and continue to go to work.
In 2017, the number of deaths from lung cancer in France was 20,875 men and 10,883 women respectively. The survival of patients is generally one year and the rate of effectiveness of chemotherapy is only 30%. Regarding immunotherapy, it lengthens or even doubles the life expectancy of patients for certain cancers. Depending on the case, the treatment can either replace chemotherapy or supplement it. Better yet, it turns out that 30% of patients remain alive after five years, thanks to immunotherapy. With chemotherapy, only 1% manage to live this long after diagnosis.