Researchers have discovered that pairing immunotherapy drugs with standard chemotherapy could significantly increase survival rates in lung cancer patients. A trial study called Keynote-189 found that newly diagnosed lung cancer patients were 51 percent more likely to be alive in a year if they underwent a regimen that combined Keytruda, an immunotherapy drug by the pharmaceutical company Merck, with standard chemotherapy, than if they received chemotherapy treatment alone. Patients with the combined treatment were also 48 percent less likely to have their cancer progress in that year. The trial data — presented Monday at a cancer research conference in Chicago — "eclipsed doctors' expectations," Stat noted. One oncologist called the results "practice-changing."

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