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Keytruda receives another breakthrough designation

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Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded Keytruda (pembrolizumab) Breakthrough Therapy Designation in classical Hodgkin Lymphoma. It is the drug’s fourth breakthrough status – previously awarded for advanced melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer.

Keytruda is considered a next generation drug in cancer care, stimulating the body’s immune system to fight the disease. The therapeutic is one of a new generation of PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1) therapies that block the biological pathways cancers use to disguise themselves from the immune system. It acts by making the cancer cell ‘visible’ to the immune system and the cell can thus be destroyed by the body’s natural defence mechanisms. UK based scientists at MRCT, with extensive expertise in antibody engineering techniques, first advanced the antibody-based treatment and carried out humanization, an essential step in the success of the therapeutic.

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