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The Promise of Immunotherapy

Posted 2/9/2016

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  Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a way of boosting the body's natural immune system and defenses to fight cancer. ASCO just named it the 2016 Clinical Cancer Advance of the Year, and there is increasing hype and hope about its value.

  At this point, there is a lot of scientific excitement and certainly some clinical benefit in some cancers for some patients--but this far from a slam dunk cancer cure. It is useful to understand the concept and, perhaps, to talk with your doctor about the possibilities for your own situation. One major advantage to patients is that immunotherapies do not bring the same difficult side effects of traditional chemotherapies.

  Here is the announcement from ASCO and some other links:

Immunotherapy: The 2016 Clinical Cancer Advance of the Year
February 4, 2016 · Greg Guthrie, ASCO staff
Today, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) releases its annual report, Clinical
Cancer Advances 2016. The 2016 Advance of the Year is cancer immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is also called biologic therapy and is a cancer treatment designed to boost the
body’s natural defenses to fight cancer in the body.
“No recent advance has been more transformative than the rise of immunotherapy, particularly
over this past year,” said Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, ASCO President. “These new
therapies are not only transforming patient lives, they are also opening intriguing avenues for
further research.”
Scientists first thought of manipulating the body’s immune system to attack cancer more than
100 years ago. Making the immune system do that, however, was filled with challenges and
setbacks. Before safe and effective immunotherapy could be delivered to patients, the medical
community had to build a deeper understanding of both cancer biology and the immune system.

And here is the link to a Cancer Net video:

And, finally, here is the link to a good general overview from ACS:


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