Last March, a groundbreaking immunotherapy called ipilimumab (Yervoy) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the deadliest skin cancer. Around 29 percent of metastatic melanoma patients survive two years by taking the drug plus chemotherapy, versus 18 percent of those on chemo alone; some live years longer. Immunologist James P. Allison paved the way for ipilimumab, or ipi, by uncovering key steps in how the immune system attacks tumor cells. Allison, who lost his mother, two uncles and a brother to cancer, is a prostate cancer survivor.
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