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What is Immunotherapy?
Cancer has met its match.
We’ve attacked cancer cells with brute force: cut them out with knives, burned them with radiation, poisoned them with chemotherapy and targeted them with drugs. The results have been significant, but one major problem remains: the cancer sometimes comes back, and it’s learned how to evade the next attack. Traditional cancer therapies destroy the cancer only while they’re administered and can harm the body along the way. Cancer immunotherapy learns and adapts – like evolution. And once that lesson is learned, it’s a lesson for life.
People will die from cancer in 2035 (NCI)
Of people will get cancer in their lifetimes (NCI)
dollars, the cost of cancer in the U.S. alone in 2018 (NCI)
Cancer is clever. It tricks your immune system into thinking it belongs – that it’s you. So your immune system doesn’t attack it, and the cancer cells are left to grow and multiply – that is, unless science lends a helping hand. Immunotherapy does just that.
It takes the always-on defense of your own immune system and trains it to recognize cancer cells as the harmful things they are, and to eliminate them. Not once, not for a little while, but always, forever, ongoing – it is a breathtaking new hope in the fight against cancer.
Immunotherapy has the advantages of precision medicine with durable responses – in other words, cures. Unlike traditional treatments where the threat of recurrence can loom large, immunotherapy is a durable treatment – meaning that when patients emerge from this battle, they’ve likely won it for life. Cancer has met its match.
Immunotherapy has the potential to kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue – a game changer.
The immune system can zero in on cancer and attack tumors anywhere in the body.
As tumors evolve, the immune system adapts in kind, beating cancer at its own game.
Immune system-based treatments have the potential to be effective for virtually all forms of cancer – hacking cancer for good.
Nature’s own database – immune cells “remember” cancer cells to keep them from coming back.
One hallmark of cancer immunotherapy is the durability of the patient’s response, especially when compared to traditional treatments used alone. Multiple studies show that a protocol combining different treatments – including immunotherapy – can lead to better outcomes for some patients. That is, they live longer.
The history of cancer treatment is punctuated by promising discoveries followed by decades of stasis. This stop-and-start march toward a cure illustrates both the hope and potential of new treatments, as well as the need for a new approach to accelerating discovery.
Immunotherapy is still proving itself. It’s often used as a last resort, once other therapies have reached the end of their effectiveness. PICI is pushing the boundaries of science ever forward to transform the course of cancer treatment. We hope immunotherapy will soon be considered one of the first options for patients, not the last chance.