Cancer drug applications at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are rising, with 20 submissions expected this year, as a better understanding of the molecular makeup of the disease leads to new treatments.

Some of the novel techniques that are proving to be successful include targeting specific gene mutations in tumors and harnessing the body's immune system to seek out and kill cancer cells.

"There are a large number of drugs being developed in oncology," said Dr. Richard Pazdur, head of the FDA's office of oncology products. "There is greater understanding of some of the disease processes."

Last year, 10 out of 30 new drugs approved by the FDA were for treatment of cancer. "This year we expect over 20 oncology applications will be filed," Pazdur said.

Read more from Reuters.

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