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In a Major Shift, Cancer Drugs Go ‘Tissue-Agnostic’

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In a Major Shift, Cancer Drugs Go ‘Tissue-Agnostic’

Encouraged by an FDA approval, companies design cancer drugs to work in any solid tumor


5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Novel drugs defeat cancer cells by targeting their flaws like magic bullets.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
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Ken Garber reports on a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. He explains so-called “tissue-agnostic” drugs in thorough detail, proving his longstanding experience as a science writer. He uses complex medical terms to discuss biomedical mechanisms and drug development. However, he manages to break down the essential information for a general audience. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in new developments in cancer treatment.


What are tissue-agnostic drugs?

Until recently, doctors treated cancerous tumors with a drug regimen that was dependent on the type of tissue the tumor originated from (e.g. breast, prostate, lung or skin). Novel, “tissue-agnostic” drugs act on tumors independent of their tissue of origin. They can attack any solid tumor presenting a specific genetic marker.

Which tissue-agnostic drugs are available or in development?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved Merck’s pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to exclusively treat...

About the Author

Ken Garber is a science writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan with longstanding experience covering biology and medicine. He has written for Science, Nature, Nature Biotechnology and Nature Medicine. He is also a contributing correspondent for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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