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Federal study gives new options for people with rare cancers

ATLANTA – People with rare cancers have been out of luck, not only do most lack good treatments but drug companies also don’t pursue them because of small potential sales. Now, a federal study that pools these folks gives them strength in numbers and new options.

The first results from this novel effort were revealed Sunday at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Atlanta. They suggest that for people with one of these unusual diseases, there seems to be a way to predict who will benefit from a drug combo that boosts the immune system and who will not.

Rare cancers collectively make up 22 percent of all cancer cases, so doctors hope the study will find solutions for more of them.

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