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Bristol and Pfizer Resort to Developing Cancer Drugs for Enhancing the Immune System’s Capacity

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Published on : Aug 10, 2015

Most cancer drugs aim at removing the obstacles that prevent the immune system from working effectively and to the best of its capabilities. At present, most drug manufacturers are trying to focus towards developing medicines that will enhance the power of the immune system to capability to fight against cancer. 

It was Pfizer Inc., a leader in the segment for cancer immunotherapies, which reported that it has recently developed the “accelerator” treatment which aims at the 4-1BB protein. There are a minimum of five studies in the pipeline for the Phase I research which pertains to lymphomas and major tumor cancers. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., is also another pharmaceutical company that is in the initial stages of studying and researching on the 4-1BB, which is an antibody. 

Also, there are other companies such as AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson that are at present carrying out sufficient research before conducting any tests on human beings. A researcher at the Stanford University Cancer Institute stated that the patients on whom a few of these drug have been tried, have shown positive results and the drugs were able to work quite effectively. It was seen that the drugs created by Pfizer when administered on patients showed certain improvements. 

The 4-1BB is also called CD137 and the connection that is has with a human’s immune system was discovered more than two decades ago by researchers and scientists at the University of California. This approach however was abandoned in the year 2008, soon after the Bristol therapy clinical trials exhibited dangerous signs indicating liver damage. 

Later on scientists realized that if the 4-1BB drug was given in lesser amounts to patients, it could prove to be effective in tackling cancer and hence also reduce the degree of toxicity in the course of treatment.