Nivolumab (Opdivo) is a monoclonal antibody against a protein called anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD-1). A similar medicine called pembrolizumab (Keytruda) performs the same function.
It is a drug used to treat malignant melanoma and non small cell lung cancer.
Some tumor cells make a protein that prevents them from being cleared by the body’s immune system. Normally tumors are seen as foreign or aberrant tissue that is regulated by the cell mediated immunity (T cell reactions). These medicines interfere with that reaction, and allow T cells to help eradicate tumor tissue.