Immune drugs show more success against advanced melanoma

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There has been a lot of progress in treating melanoma. (WPVI)

There has been a lot of progress in treating melanoma.

Now, two drugs which work by immunotherapy score more high marks for extending survival. One drug helped former president jimmy carter overcome melanoma.

The new drugs unleash the immune system to fight cancer without chemotherapy or radiation.

And the latest studies show they can significantly improve survival for some people when conventional treatments stop working.

One test used Keytruda, the drug former President Carter took.

It teaches the body to recognize cancer cells as invaders, and enables the immune system to attack them.

Keytruda didn't cause serious side effects for most patients.

Melanoma patient Tom Stutz says it's worked for him, without hair loss or nausea.

"I've been to family events. I've gone on vacations with my kids, I'm feeling great," says Stutz.

Another study looked at a similar drug, Opdivo.

More than a third of the patients taking it have survived 5 years - that's twice the current survival rate for advanced melanoma.

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