Immunotherapy treatment called the 4th leg of cancer treatment - CBS46 News

Immunotherapy treatment called the 4th leg of cancer treatment

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Kente Carter is a 10 year cancer patient. He has Hodgkin Lymphoma, which has led to years of severe back pain.

The agony made it hard for him to move. Doctors said he was getting to the point where he couldn't walk at all. That all changed about two years ago when he started immunotherapy treatment.

"I can actually run again", said Carter.

Carter is taking a type of immunotherapy called Nivolumab. It uses his immune system to attack the disease.

"What nivolumab has done is provided a opportunity for patients to live much longer and much healthier than they otherwise would have," said Dr. Jonathan Cohen.

Dr. Cohen is Carter's physician. He said the treatment was only recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people battling Hodgkin Lymphoma.

He said it's already being used for melanoma and lung cancer patients as well.

"Patients typically do not lose their hair, they do not have the nausea and vomiting we see with traditional chemotherapy and it has a much lower burden on their quality of life," said Dr. Cohen.

He also said not everyone will benefit, telling CBS46 it's effective roughly two-thirds of the time.

The groundbreaking treatment was notably used in treating President Jimmy Carter. The Georgia native announced he was cancer free last December after doctors said he went through immunotherapy, using the drug Keytruda.

The deputy director of Winship Cancer Institute said this type of cancer killer is especially important in metro Atlanta, where many patients suffer from tobacco-related cancers.

"Some of the common cancers these patients have like lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer...these are areas where immunotherapy works very well. So we're going to see a lot of patients in metro Atlanta and our state benefit from it," said Dr. Suresh Ramalingam.

Doctors said they're hopeful the treatment will eventually work for all cancer patients.

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