In March 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved Opdivo for the treatment of nonsmall cell lung cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. This drug works by inhibiting PD-1, which is a protein receptor on T cells.
PD-1 helps cancer cells avoid recognition so that the body's immune system does not destroy them, explains the American Cancer Society. By blocking PD-1, Opdivo allows the body's immune system to identify the cancer cells and fight them just like any other disease, states WebMD. This new lung cancer treatment helps people with advanced lung cancer live longer. Research shows that this drug is safe and very effective in treating lung cancer.