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Pancreatic cancer has proved one of the most deadly forms of the disease, and the most difficult to crack. It shrugs off immunotherapy drugs and resists chemotherapy, and only about 10% of patients live longer than five years after diagnosis.

But Albert Einstein College of Medicine immunologist and microbiologist Claudia Gravekamp is trying a new, unconventional approach: using Listeria bacteria to develop an immunotherapy that makes pancreatic tumors vulnerable to immune attacks. The results from her experiments in mice, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, found the therapy can extend survival by 40% — a figure that experts said was very promising, though preliminary, and warranted further research in humans. 

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