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Good Results Halt Lung Cancer Drug Study

From the WebMD Archives

June 17, 2016 -- A clinical trial of a new lung cancer drug called Keytruda was halted because it's so effective that researchers want to offer it to all the patients in the study.

The trial included 305 lung cancer patients who had not yet received any treatment and was designed to compare Keytruda to standard chemotherapy, NBC News reported.

But because the new drug worked as well as, or better than, chemotherapy, the study was stopped so all the patients could take Keytruda, according to drug maker Merck. The company said the drug extended patients' survival and also helped them live longer without their tumors growing or spreading.

The study details are not available yet.

"I suspect the findings were significant enough that this will be a practice-changing finding," Dr. Pasi Janne, a lung cancer specialist at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told NBC News.

Keytruda is the drug former president Jimmy Carter said slowed advanced melanoma skin cancer that had spread to his brain.