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An experimental Bristol-Myers Squibb drug helped shrink tumors in patients with advanced melanoma, kidney and lung cancers in a preliminary trial, raising hopes for yet another drug that can wake up the immune
system and train it to attack cancer cells.
Cancer specialists and Wall Street analysts have high hopes for the treatment, the second in a class of so-called checkpoint modulators that rev up the immune system to fight tumors.
Bristol-Myers' drug Yervoy, or ipilimumab, the first in this class, has already won approval for the treatment of advanced melanoma, and researchers are eager to add a new weapon to their growing arsenal of immunotherapy drugs.
Cancer experts are especially excited about the compound's activity in lung cancer, a leading cause of cancer death that so far has shown limited response to immune system therapies. "This is really the first time we've seen this rate of response in lung cancer. That makesus think we don't know the full spectrum of activity of this drug. Part of the future will be to use it in different cancer types," Topalian told the meeting.