High Points and Hurdles: Immunotherapy Moves Forward

Anita T. Shaffer @Shaffer1
Published: Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012
T lymphocytes attacking a migrating cancer cell

Illustration depicts T lymphocytes attacking a migrating cancer cell. Novel ways to improve the ability of T lymphocytes to enhance immune response are under study.

At this time last year, immunotherapy was in the limelight. Within a span of less than 12 months, the FDA had approved the first anticancer therapeutic vaccine and an antibody with a unique mechanism of action. Advocates of cancer-fighting immune strategies felt vindicated after facing skepticism and disappointment.
Today, immunotherapy is maintaining its momentum in clinical development programs, with explorations under way in many tumor types, including breast and lung cancers previously considered poor candidates for such modalities.

Dr. Mary L. Disis

Mary L. (Nora) Disis, MD

Professor, Medicine and Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

Mary L. Disis, MD, is a chief co-investigator of the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), which links researchers at 27 institutions with the intention of creating a pipeline of agents that can move into advanced trials. The National Cancer Institute launched the network in April 2011, designating the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as its headquarters.

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