Large drugmakers and startup biotechnology companies are developing therapies that harness the body's immune system to recognize and attack tumor cells, and some drugs, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb's melanoma drug Yervoy, have shown promising results. "That these agents can produce a long-term stable response in multiple tumor types is a whole new approach to treating cancer," said Yale Cancer Center chief of medical oncology Roy Herbst. The technology could transform the way cancer is treated and refill dry drugmaker pipelines, analysts say.

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