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FILE - In this April 19, 2007 file photo, a lab officer cuts a DNA fragment under UV light from an agarose gel for DNA sequencing as part of research to determine genetic mutation in a blood cancer patient, in Singapore, which prides itself as an advanced medical treatment and research hub. New research shows a sharp escalation in the weapons race against cancer, with several high-tech approaches long dreamed of but not possible or successful until now. At a weekend conference of more than 30,000 cancer specialists, scientists are reporting new tactics  to spur the immune system to attack a broad range of cancers, new drugs that attack the disease while sparing healthy cells, and new ways to tell which patients will benefit from which drugs. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
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Wong Maye-e

FILE - In this April 19, 2007 file photo, a lab officer cuts a DNA fragment under UV light from an agarose gel for DNA sequencing as part of research to determine genetic mutation in a blood cancer patient, in Singapore, which prides itself as an advanced medical treatment and research hub. New research shows a sharp escalation in the weapons race against cancer, with several high-tech approaches long dreamed of but not possible or successful until now. At a weekend conference of more than 30,000 cancer specialists, scientists are reporting new tactics to spur the immune system to attack a broad range of cancers, new drugs that attack the disease while sparing healthy cells, and new ways to tell which patients will benefit from which drugs. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Advanced therapies aimed at cancer

“I see major advances being made in big diseases.”


Dr. Richard Pazdur
FDA cancer drug chief

By Marilynn Marchione

The Associated Press

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CHICAGO — New research shows a sharp escalation in the weapons race against cancer, with several high-tech approaches long dreamed of but not possible or successful until now.

At a recent conference of more than 30,000 cancer specialists, scientists reported:


  • New “smart” drugs that deliver powerful poisons directly to cancer cells while leaving healthy ones alone.
  • A new tool that helps the immune system attack a broad range of cancer types.
  • Treatments aimed at new genes and cancer pathways, plus better tests to predict which patients will benefit from them.

“I see major advances being made in big diseases” such as breast and prostate cancers, said Dr. Richard Pazdur, cancer drug chief at the federal Food and Drug Administration, which recently announced a new policy intended to speed breast cancer drugs to the market.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart