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Cancer knows no race, no age, and no gender. The deadly disease creeps ever closer to home, attacking both sexes and disregarding age with most new afflicted victims. Therefore, the news of a recent breakthrough was most welcome. According to The New York Times, a new class of cancer drugs has been successful in combating the deadly disease in a manner that has raised the hopes of many of the world’s top cancer specialists, leading them to believe that they may well be on the verge of an important milestone in the fight against the disease. How does it work? These drugs, still in their early testing stage, perform by using the body’s own immune system to check the spread of the disease. The drugs help the immune system to attack the erring cells in the same way it would attack bacteria. This idea was developed by a New York surgeon William B. Coley, who noticed that cancer disappeared in a patient who had a severe bacterial infection.

Bristol Myers Squibb

Although most of his previous attempts had failed, this new class of drugs holds promise and according to Wall Street, is the reason behind the fact that the shares of Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceuticals in charge of developing such drugs, rose more than 3 percent on Monday after data from their studies was presented over the weekend at the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “I think all of you recognize this is a very special moment in oncology,” Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, Head of research and development at Merck, told analysts Sunday at a standing-room-only meeting.  I can bet that the majority of the world’s population is holding their breath at this news. Even more optimistic was a Yale professor of Oncology, Dr. Mario Sznol, who is excited about the possibilities. “If you look five years out, most of this meeting will be about immunotherapy,” he said excitedly, commenting about the future change over from the debilitating treatment process of chemotherapy.

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This article was first published on 6th June 2013

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