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Otis Brawley

Study of promising cancer therapy halted due to deaths

A study of an experimental treatment for leukemia was abruptly halted this week following two patient deaths, raising questions about a closely-watched approach to cancer that involves reprogramming cells to seek and destroy the disease.

The Food and Drug Administration suspended the Juno Therapeutics trial Wednesday, after the company reported that two patients on its most advanced treatment died from swelling of the brain. A similar death was reported in May though both the FDA and Juno concluded there were "compounding factors," company executives said in a Thursday conference call.

Seattle-based Juno blamed the two recent deaths on the addition of a second...

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