Pow! Unleashing immunotherapies & protecting patients
May 31, 2017 | Leigh MacMillan
The television ad opens on a city skyline at sunrise, with people looking up curiously at the buildings. “It’s not every day something this big comes along,” says the narrator, as words appear projected on the side of a building. “A chance to live longer,” the words spell out in big, bright capital letters.
The ad is for Opdivo (nivolumab), one of a growing number of immunotherapy drugs that harness the power of the immune system to treat cancer. The drugs have had some stunning successes, achieving durable remissions in some patients with melanoma, lung cancer and numerous other cancers. But the hopeful message in the ad is quickly tempered with a litany of side effects that “may become serious and lead to death,” the narrator says.