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Two weeks ago, we reported that pembrolizumab worked well as first-line treatment for advanced lung cancer patients. Those benefits―which included a 40% reduction in risk of death compared to chemotherapy―led the FDA to grant Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Priority Review to the therapy.
Although the FDA had until December 24 to make a decision, U.S. regulators decided yesterday, two months ahead of schedule, to approve pembrolizumab (Keytruda ®, Merck) as a first-line option for patients with advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). It’s important to note, however, that this approval is for patients whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression (more than half the cells expressed it) and don’t have any mutations in EGFR or ALK. Pembrolizumab is an anti-PD-1 checkpoint antibody that targets the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway and can help keep immune cells active against cancer.
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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.
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Cancer very is similar in dogs and humans, and scientists are now exploring how cures for one of us can provide cures for both of us.
Important immunotherapy breakthroughs benefited patients immensely in 2017 and paved the way for even more advances in 2018!