May 16, 2013

@Bloomberg @BloombergNews: Human Immune-Boosting Cancer Drugs Seen Extending Lives

An article by Robert Langreth here (May 12, 2013).

"Merck & Co. (MRK), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) and Roche Holding AG (ROG) have opened a new front against cancer with the next generation of experimental drugs that use the human immune system to seek and destroy tumor cells."

"Building on the success of Bristol-Myers’ Yervoy drug for melanoma that reached the market in 2011, drugmakers are devising more potent immune therapies or combining treatments for maximum effectiveness. They are also testing the new medicines in more types of cancers, including lung and breast."

"If the new generation of immune therapies lives up to its promise, “this is going to be a paradigm shift for treating cancer,” said Merck senior vice president Gary Gilliland in an interview. “We are pretty good at shrinking tumors, but not good at getting rid of them. Immune therapy is a way to begin to approach that.”"

"Now many believe that by strengthening the immune system’s ability to identify and kill cancer cells, they can broaden the attack so it will fight any dangerous malignancy. “You’re setting up a fair fight” with the disease, said Nils Lonberg, a senior vice president at Bristol-Myers, in a telephone interview. “The immune system is just as adaptable as the cancer.”"

"Cancer doctors “are accustomed to moving from one therapy to another” as tumors rapidly develop resistance,” he said in a telephone interview. “It is generating tremendous excitement to have a drug class that might well be able to provide long term control of metastatic cancer.”"

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