Cancer researchers are pumping out study after study trying to figure out how best to use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer tumors.
Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists led by Dr. F. Stephen Hodi at Dana Farber Cancer Institute show for the first time that combining two drugs that target the immune system in different ways could help melanoma patients survive longer.
From 2010 to 2011, 245 patients with advanced skin cancer who had not responded to at least one previous treatment were randomly assigned to get a newly approved drug, ipilimumab, designed to help the immune system better target tumors, either alone or in combination with another drug. Ipilimumab (marketed as Yervoy), was among the first anti-cancer medications that allows immune cells to “see” tumors better; since tumors grow from originally normal cells, the immune system often gives them a pass…
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