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How attacking a virus in cancer patients helped a Peninsula company target MS
San Francisco Business Times

As a Peninsula drug developer outlines its path for immunotherapy and next-generation cancer drugs, it also may have pointed the way toward a seemingly unrelated disease: multiple sclerosis.

Atara Biotherapeutics Inc. leaders believe the company’s experimental tabelecleucel — or “tab-cel” — could halt Epstein-Barr virus. That common herpes virus threatens blood cancer patients after their immune systems are suppressed following a transplant from a bone marrow donor, and Atara’s drug is designed to boost infection-fighting T cells is in two late-stage clinical trials for some patients with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder, or PTLD.

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