Cancer treatment is generally thought of as location based – targeting the cells in a lump or tumor by removing them completely and/or through chemotherapy or radiation. But, more recent thinking suggests that the location of the cancer cells may not be as important for treatment as the characteristics of the cells themselves. Instead of treating cancer cells based on where they are – researchers hope to treat the cells based on what they are.  
That is just what a new immunotherapy cancer drug, Keytruda, from Merck & Co. is designed to do. This week, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) became the first cancer drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that targets cancer cells based on their genetics – not their location. In fact, the drug was granted accelerated approval which is generally given to drugs that, although they have not been completely tested, show promise for serious conditions. Merck …
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