Russia has improbably emerged as a world leader in new cancer vaccines. The country's regulatory body approved the use of Antigenics' new kidney cancer vaccine, Oncophage--a world first. And shares of little Antigenics swiftly soared 23 percent on the news.
The FDA has not approved the therapy, one of the first of a wave of treatments that is intended to train the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer. Oncophage failed a clinical trial, but researchers found in a follow-up analysis of the data that patients taking the therapy lived 1.7 years longer without the cancer reoccurring. This is the first time Russia has approved a drug that was not yet OK'd in its country of origin.
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