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New Immunotherapy Approved for Metastatic Bladder Cancer

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Patients with metastatic bladder cancer have few treatment options after failure of chemotherapy until now. In early May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the immunological drug Atezolizumab to treat metastatic bladder cancer. The decision came following results of an international multi-site phase II clinical study published in the March 4 edition of the Lancet. Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus was one of the largest sites involved in the study. Dr. Richard W. Joseph,, Mayo Clinic oncologist involved in the study, says the drug works by helping the patient’s own immune system fight cancer. “Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer, causing 165,000 deaths worldwide annually,” says Dr. Joseph, whose research is part of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program within the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.