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The drug industry has made a mint on immunotherapies for cancer, but those game-changing treatments don’t work for most people’s tumors. That has set in motion a scientific gold rush, as biotech companies search for molecules they can add to those drugs to turn them into universal therapies.

The latest promising candidate is TGF-beta, a thorny collection of proteins that regulates a host of bodily functions. Among them is the process by which the immune system decides to either attack cancerous growths or let them pass idly by.

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