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    A drug normally used to treat lung cancer and melanoma could also save the lives of women suffering from a rare but deadly disease after pregnancy.

    A clinical trial of pembrolizumab showed that three out of four patients with cancerous gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) went into remission. GTD forms after one in 50,000 pregnancies and requires women to have chemotherapy. Most can be cured but up to 5 per cent die. The trial, published in The Lancet, was carried out by Imperial College London and took place at Charing Cross Hospital and Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden.

    Pembrolizumab stimulates the immune system to kill cancer cells. Four women were given the drug every three weeks for about six months. Up to two years on, three had no signs of cancer, although the fourth had died.

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