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Forbes' writer picks most important new drug of 2014

These two drugs represent a breakthrough in treating cancer.

And, the most important new drug of 2014, is? Keytruda from Merck and Opdivo from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Yup, it is a tie.

The Forbes article's author, Matthew Herper, has been making this pick since 2012, but says this year, "the two obvious winners are so alike that I think it’s not fair to give either an edge."

Herper summarizes why he picked these two in the recent Forbes article:

"These two medicines represent a breakthrough in oncology: unlocking the immune system as a weapon to attack tumor cells. The drugs block a “programmed cell death receptor” on the surface of white blood cells. Cancer cells often can use this receptor to prevent the white cells from killing them.

"The drugs shrank tumors in 20% to 40% of patients with melanoma who have been failed by all other treatments. And in 5% to 10% of those patients, the tumor shrinkage persists for more than six months."

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