Bladder cancer patients have been given fresh hope of a longer life thanks to a new drug that encourages the immune system to destroy tumours. The drug, atezolizumab, can help those with an advanced form of the disease survive an average of almost 16 months compared to a survival rate of only 7.9 months for patients on conventional chemotherapy. Some patients are still alive two to three years after starting the new treatment. Currently, many will die within months of diagnosis if they fail to respond to chemotherapy. In 2014, bladder cancer was responsible for 1040 deaths in Australia. The chances of still being alive five years after diagnosis are as low as 15 per cent if tumour cells have already migrated to other parts of the body.