“An experimental Pfizer drug that helps the immune system fight cancer showed early promise against a variety of cancers when used with Merck & Co’s immunotherapy Keytruda in a small clinical trial, according to data released on Wednesday.
“The first wave of successful cancer immunotherapies, such as Keytruda, block mechanisms that tumors use to evade the immune system. Pfizer’s utomilumab, which targets an antibody known as 4-1BB, stimulates a more intense immune system attack. The Pfizer drug has already shown encouraging early results against a form of blood cancer when used with Roche’s Rituxan.
“Researchers are hopeful that combining the two approaches, one that takes the brakes off of the immune system with one that hits the accelerator, will offer long-lasting protection against cancer without adding serious side effects.”
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