The Importance of Curiosity in Expanding Cancer Immunology

Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, PhD
Published: Friday, Oct 12, 2018



Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, chief executive officer, director of scientific affairs, Cancer Research Institute, discusses the importance of curiosity in expanding the role of immunology in the treatment of patients with cancer.

It may be best from a scientific perspective to just ask great questions, have a curious mind, and follow new paths, O’Donnell-Tormey says. It is also important for researchers to not focus on what direction their work is going in, because science doesn’t necessarily work that way. James P. Allison, PhD, who was awarded a 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhD, said in his acceptance speech that if he was trying to find a cure for cancer, he probably would not have discovered CTLA-4 as an immune checkpoint.

Researchers also need to understand that science takes time, persistence, and the ability to learn from failure. The field of immunotherapy is at a point now where oncologists can look at patient samples and figure out why immune resistance occurs. The lab is not the only place where research can be conducted, she concluded.


Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, chief executive officer, director of scientific affairs, Cancer Research Institute, discusses the importance of curiosity in expanding the role of immunology in the treatment of patients with cancer.

It may be best from a scientific perspective to just ask great questions, have a curious mind, and follow new paths, O’Donnell-Tormey says. It is also important for researchers to not focus on what direction their work is going in, because science doesn’t necessarily work that way. James P. Allison, PhD, who was awarded a 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhD, said in his acceptance speech that if he was trying to find a cure for cancer, he probably would not have discovered CTLA-4 as an immune checkpoint.

Researchers also need to understand that science takes time, persistence, and the ability to learn from failure. The field of immunotherapy is at a point now where oncologists can look at patient samples and figure out why immune resistance occurs. The lab is not the only place where research can be conducted, she concluded.

View Conference Coverage
Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Community Practice Connections™: New Directions in Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Emerging Evidence of ImmunotherapyAug 13, 20191.5
Publication Bottom Border
Border Publication
x