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New cancer treatment immunotherapy could replace chemo

By David Mercer

Experts have hailed a "new era" for cancer treatments after achieving "spectacular" results from trials on a new class of drugs.

Immunotherapy, which harnesses the body's immune system to attack cancerous cells, is proving so effective that in one British-led trial, more than half of patients with advanced melanoma skin cancer saw tumours shrink or brought under control, researchers said.

A number of trials of the drugs have been presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual conference in Chicago.

Professor Roy Herbst, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Centre, USA, described some of the findings as "spectacular" and said immunotherapy could replace chemotherapy as the standard treatment for cancer within the next five years, according to reports.

He told reporters: "The potential for long-term survival, effective cure, is definitely there."

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