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Antibody Alarm Call Rouses Immune Response to Cancer

from Nature News

Researchers working in the burgeoning field of cancer immunotherapy last week announced that a way of arming the body's natural defences to fight tumour cells has proved effective against three different types of cancer.

An antibody-based treatment developed by Suzanne Topalian, an oncologist at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and her colleagues either eliminated or shrank tumours in 49 of 236 patients with certain types of advanced skin, kidney and lung cancer. Previous cancer immunotherapies have worked in smaller percentages of patients. The results of the phase I clinical trial were published on 2 June [in the New England Journal of Medicine].

"I think it really changes the field, because the response rates are much higher," says Antoni Ribas, a cancer researcher at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of California, Los Angeles, who is testing a similar treatment in clinical trials.

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