A type of immunotherapy called a checkpoint inhibitor that blocks the PD-1 protein receptor on cancer cells. Checkpoint inhibitors release the ‘brakes’ on the immune system enabling T cells to kill cancer cells more effectively. Pembrolizumab, often in combination with ipilimumab (another checkpoint inhibitor), is used to treat advanced kidney cancer. Pemrolizumab is the chemical (or generic) name of the drug, while Keytruda is the brand (or trade) name under which the drug is licensed and sold.

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