By design, the immune system acts as the body’s natural defense against bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. Healthy immune systems help people ward off everything from common colds to influenza. But, there is one type of abnormality in the body that the immune system often does not attack: cancer cells. Because cancer cells originate in the body, they are not foreign enough for the immune system to recognize as invaders. This, too, is by design, as immune systems that attack themselves lead to autoimmune diseases.
Michael Howerton of University of California San Francisco poses the question that researchers are trying to answer: “What if the body could heal itself of even the most aggressive and deadly tumors?” He explains that scientists assumed for decades that the immune system could not fight cancer, but in the past few years, they have begun “investigating the potential of immunotherapy to be a powerful, effective and long-lasting solution to kill cancer.” How far has science come? And, can boosting the immune system before getting cancer help to prevent it?
We have rounded up our top 50 cancer and the immune system resources to address these questions and others. Our resources come from leading medical and biological researchers and scientists, trusted news organizations, highly regarded science publications, and cancer research organizations, to name a few. We offer articles, eBooks, infographics, multimedia resources, podcasts, videos, webinars, and scholarly articles and reports to help you educate yourself about the immune system and cancer and reducing your risks of cancer too.
While we have listed our top cancer and the immune system resources here in
no particular order, we have included a table of contents to make it easier for you to jump to the resource categories that most interest you.
- Infographics and Multimedia
- Podcasts, Videos, Video Reports, and Webinars
- Scholarly Articles and Reports
“The official sponsor of birthdays,” American Cancer Society strives for a cancer-free world and exists to help individuals and families affected by cancer. American Cancer Society offers several online resources about cancer and the immune system, and we have chosen this one because it provides basic immune system information. What the Immune System Does is a great resource to read to become familiar with the immune system so that you can gain a better understanding of the following cancer and the immune system resources.
Three key points from What the Immune System Does:
- Immune cells and their substances navigate through your body, protecting you from germs and, in some ways, from cancer
- Think of your immune system as your body’s defense system against viruses, bacteria, and parasites that try to invade your body
- When cancer cells exist in the body, the immune system may recognize them and attack them, may not recognize them as foreign cells, may not be strong enough to destroy the cancer, or may remain in check if the cancer cells give off substances that keep the immune system in check
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the United States government’s lead agency for cancer research. In this article, the NCI briefly explains the immune system’s responses to cancer cells. The article also describes how cancer immunology is an emerging field that has resulted in new methods of treating cancer that boost the immune systems’ responses against tumors. Check out the embedded video, “What is Immunotherapy?” and the related resources to learn even more about cancer and the immune system.
Three key topics from Immunotherapy: Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer:
- Immune checkpoint modulators
- Immune cell therapy
- Immune-modifying agents
Cancer Research UK is at the forefront of life-saving cancer research with the hopes of curing all cancers some day. Their Immune System and Cancer page is an information source for people who need an overview of the immune system and its effects on cancer and vice versa. The article also provides an in-depth look at the various cells and substances that help the immune system fight cancer.
Three key ideas from The Immune System and Cancer:
- Cancer has the ability to weaken the immune system
- Cancer treatments also may weaken the immune system
- After chemotherapy, you are more likely to become ill from the viruses or bacteria you normally carry with you, not from catching someone else’s
Dr. Heidi Ledford writes about biology and medicine. In her article for Nature Publishing Group, Dr. Ledford reports on how the immune system keys researchers and doctors into cancer treatment, as “molecular signatures hint at who will benefit from next-generation cancer drugs.” The goal is for researchers to develop personalized cancer therapies.
Three key points from Immune System Offers Clues to Cancer Treatment:
- In an effort to tailor treatments to individual patients, researchers examine an individual’s immune response to cancer
- Focusing on the immune system is a shift away from previous attempts to personalize therapies by focusing on the tumor itself
- Researchers focus on the immune cells around the tumor and conduct clinical trials to test personalized vaccines in humans
The University of California San Francisco is a leading university that focuses solely on health. Michael Howeorton’s article investigates how researchers are studying immunotherapy as a “powerful, effective and long-lasting solution to kill cancer.”
Three key points from Killing Cancer Through the Immune System:
- Part of the challenge with the immune system is that it “screens out its own tissue,” so that it doesn’t attack itself and lead to autoimmune diseases – this explains why the immune system does not work against cancer cells as it does viruses and bacteria
- A new drug treatment infuses immune system-enhancing antibodies to identify cancer calls and attack them
- Researchers are working to determine why immunotherapy works for some patients but not others
Breastcancer.org, a nonprofit that provides reliable and up-to-date information about breast cancer and breast health, offers this cancer and the immune system resource, which explains that certain breast cancer treatments have been known to weaken the immune system. Cancer patients need to be especially aware of signs of possible infection and contact their doctor immediately.
Three key points from Cancer Treatments and Their Impact on Your Immune System:
- Getting breast cancer does not mean that you have a weak immune system
- Immunity is greatly impacted by chemotherapy, but it also may be affected by surgery and some forms of radiation
- If you’ve had a recent surgery or are in the middle of treatment, you need to contact your doctor immediately if you have signs of an infection, including redness, swelling, warmth, or pus at the site of injury, surgical wound, or injection
The National Health Service (NHS) was launched in the UK in 1948. They provide health information, care and support, news, and more, including this cancer and the immune system resource, which cautions people about putting too much faith in the immune system as a “game-changing treatment for cancer.” As NHS points out, the immunotherapy studies are in their early stages and it would not be fair to give “premature hopes about research that is still in the very early stages.”
Three key points from Discovery Could ‘Boost Immune System’s Cancer Fighting Ability’:
- Immunotherapy techniques have been studied in one type of cancer
- Some immunotherapy treatments have been studied only in mice
- Researchers are hopeful that their early findings lead to successful immunotherapy for human cancer patients
An education and research institution, the Mayo Clinic specializes in treating patients. In this cancer and the immune system resource, the Mayo Clinic shares news of their researchers “exploring the hypothesis that the immune system plays a significant role in whether or not cancer cells proliferate.” The researchers hope to develop a cancer vaccine to boost the immune system, and they see extensions to new therapies for patients with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Three key points from Training the Immune System to Fight Cancer:
- Collaboration of medical professionals and researchers may be key in developing the cancer vaccines
- The goal of cancer vaccines is to train the immune system to fight cancer
- Researchers are working to determine why certain people benefit from immunotherapy
University of California San Diego Health offers this cancer and the immune system resource, which paints a confusing picture of the immune system’s response to cancerous tumors. As the article explains, tumor “cell surface sugars can promote or inhibit cancer depending upon stage.” This makes cancer and the immune system even more complex for researchers.
Three key points from Cancer and the Immune System: A Double-Edged Sword:
- Acids at the tips of cancer cells engage with immune system cells and change the immune system’s response to the tumor in negative and positive ways
- When designing drugs that target the immune system for clinical trials, researchers need to consider the circumstances and stage of the disease
- More research needs to be done to understand how the immune system may both promote and inhibit tumors
Claudia Dreifus shares a conversation with Dr. James P. Allison, chairman of the immunology department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in this New York Times article. Dr. Allison’s research blazed the path for immunotherapy to fight cancer, as he found “a way to set T-cells loose on the disease.”
Three key points from Arming the Immune System Against Cancer:
- It may be more prudent to stop using traditional cancer treatments like radiation, surgery, and chemotherapies to kill cancer cells and instead develop drugs that release T-cells to attack cancer cells
- Drugs of this type have shown responses with clinical benefits for prostate, kidney, and bladder cancers
- Melanoma is responding very well to immunotherapy drugs
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a leading research and education institution. Anne Trafton’s cancer and the immune system article takes a look at scientists who are learning how “stimulating both branches of the immune system halts tumor growth more effectively.” An MIT study shows that combining two strategies, using antibodies to attack tumors and stimulating T cells helps to stop the growth of melanoma in mice.
Three key points from Recruiting the Entire Immune System to Attack Cancer:
- Antibody drugs for cancer bind cancer proteins and block the signals telling cancer cells to divide uncontrollably, plus they may signal innate immune system cells to destroy tumor cells
- Adoptive T-cell therapy utilizes the body’s T cells to attack tumors
- T cells are critical to the anti-tumor response that results from an antibody-IL-2 combination (IL-2 is a signaling molecule that helps boost immune responses)
As Lenny Bernstein and Brady Dennis of the Washington Post report, Philip Prichard had just months to live after Dr. Nizar M. Tannir removed his 3.5-pound kidney tumor. Dr. Tannir started Prichard on a clinical trial drug “aimed at unleashing the human immune system to fight cancer cells,” and it only took two weeks for Prichard to be free of his fever, pain, night sweats, weight loss, and anemia. His main tumor had shrunk by 50%-60% after four infusions, and two years later Dr. Tannir is considering stopping the medication. Prichard is just one cancer and the immune system success story, but there are dozens of ongoing studies building upon the success of immunotherapy for cancer.
Three key points from He Had a 3.5-Pound Tumor and Months To Live. Here’s How He Survived:
- Immune therapies are a staple of cancer treatment, alongside surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation
- The progress is promising, but cancer experts are grappling with understanding why some patients respond to immunotherapy and other don’t
- There is a question about the long-term impact of immunotherapy, as the treatments haven’t been done long enough to give an answer
Provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lung Cancer and the Immune System is a cancer and the immune system resource that gives an in-depth look at the immune system and its functions. Lung Cancer and the Immune System also explains how the immune system responds to cancer and covers immuno-oncology.
Three key points from Lung Cancer and the Immune System:
- The immune system attempts to identify and kill cancer through “tumor immune surveillance”
- Tumors can still develop even when the immune system is functioning well
- When the immune system has an adaptive immune response, it uses its long memory, or ability to recognize invading cells and attack when it encounters them again
In a report for FoxNews.com, Lindsay Carlton presents immunotherapy as a fairly new cancer treatment that aims to boost and redirect the immune system to kill cancer. She features Dr. Yvonne Paterson, “one of the first pioneers of tumor immunology in the early 1990s,” in the article. Dr. Paterson is associate dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and a breast cancer survivor who is dedicated to developing a treatment that will eliminate metastatic disease: “You can always cut the primary tumor out but it’s metastatic disease that kills you.”
Three key points from Teaching the Immune System To Fight Back Against Cancer:
- The immune system does not recognize cancer cells as abnormal, but Paterson believes listeria, a powerful bacterium, can help
- By genetically modifying listeria and infecting cancer cells with it, Dr. Paterson is working to get the immune system to recognize cancer cells as being infected and needing to be eliminated
- The immune system can associate new cancer cells with listeria in order to continue to attack them and prevent metastatic tumor cells from developing
Jamie Green and Charlotte Ariyan’s cancer and the immune system article for The Scientist explores the beginning of immunotherapy for cancer more than 100 years ago. They explain the advances in immunotherapy that have led to its being named “Breakthrough of the Year” by the journal Science and to the few therapies that are available on the market and the clinical trials that are underway today.
Three key points from Deploying the Body’s Army: Using Patients’ Own Immune Systems to Fight Cancer:
- While chemotherapy and radiation attack cancer cells directly, immunotherapy treatments alter the immune system to boost its ability to fight tumors
- The first immunotherapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was for treating bladder cancer in 1990
- Immune checkpoint blockade is a “rapidly expanding category of immunotherapy” – it works by helping the immune system to continue to work when it normally would turn off, in order to actively attack cancer cells
Science Editor of The Independent, Steve Connor reports on positive findings in a clinical trial that involved 260 lung cancer patients: “those who were given the immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab lived an average 3.2 months longer than patients who received conventional chemotherapy.” The evidence supports immunotherapy and may indicate better longer-term outcomes for patients who respond to immunotherapy.
Three key points from Immunotherapy: ‘Major Milestone’ As Drugs Stimulate Body To Fight Off Deadly Cancers:
- “This solidifies immunotherapy as a treatment option in lunch cancer. In the 20 years that I’ve been in practice, I consider this a major milestone.” ~ Dr. Julie Brahmer, Johns Hopkins University, who led the study
- A separate trial of 945 patients with advanced melanoma found that those who combined two checkpoint inhibitors had “a significant extension in progression-free survival” compared to patients who took either drug on its own
- Tests are available to help doctors determine which patients will respond better to immunotherapy treatments
17. Adoptive Immunotherapy May Help Treat More Types of Cancer If New Approaches Are Explored
EurekAlert! is a global source for science news, and this cancer and the immune system resources reports on a special issue of Immunotherapy, in which “leading experts provide in-depth review of innovative strategies that may further the success of adoptive cell immunotherapy as a cancer treatment.” Researchers are pursuing adoptive cell therapy as a promising cancer treatment that may be used for a wider range of cancers.
Three key points from Adoptive Immunotherapy May Help Treat More Types of Cancer If New Approaches Are Explored:
- Adoptive cell immunotherapy (ACT) has been successful in clinical trials involving specific types of melanoma and leukemia
- Researchers are devising strategies for extending ACT to more types of cancer
- ACT involves personalized cancer therapy with tumor-targeting cultures
In this cancer and the immune system resource for The Truth About Cancer, writer Ty Bollinger promotes immunotherapy as a better option than the traditional cancer treatment of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, which sometimes have dangerous and painful side effects. Immunotherapy is an alternative treatment that uses the power of patients’ immune systems to fight cancer.
Three key points from Benefits of Immunotherapy: Enhancing Patient Immunity to Fight Cancer:
- Dr. Drew Pardoll, Director of the Cancer Immunology Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explains that tumors essentially stop the immune system response, allowing the cancer to grow and spread
- More studies need to be done, but immunotherapy is showing promise in improving patients’ overall health, eliminating cancer cells, and helping patients remain cancer free
- Researchers and scientists continue to develop treatments that generate T cells to someday eliminate cancer from patients’ bodies
A chapter of the eBook Cancer Treatment Strategies, edited by Dr. Ahmed M. Malki, Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy is written by Ahmed M. ElSharkawy of the Biochemistry department of Alexandria University. The chapter examines how advances in immunology have led to developing new treatments for cancer patients. The entire eBook is available for download as a PDF or online as an eBook.
Three key topics from Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy:
- A description of the immune response
- T cells and dendritic cells and their role in immunotherapy
- Immunotherapeutic strategies associated with the anti-tumor immune response
Edited by Dr. Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi, Department of Clinical Oncology Professor at Kawasaki Medical School in Japan, Immunotherapy of Cancer explores the need for immunotherapy as a form of cancer treatment as well as the current and projected status of cancer immunotherapy. The eBook examines immunotherapy as a fourth approach to cancer treatment, after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Three key topics from Immunotherapy of Cancer: An Innovative Treatment Comes of Age:
- The constitution of the immune system and immuno checkpoints
- The mechanism of antigen presentation and recognition by the immune system
- Biomarkers and their association with immunotherapy
Cost: Contact for a quote; eBook version will be available soon
In honor of Christoph Huber, founder and chair of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT), this eBook serves as a tribute to all of the researchers and clinicians who dedicate themselves to developing immunotherapies to benefit cancer patients. Cancer Immunotherapy Meets Oncology covers recent developments in immune-oncology and provides “a comprehensive update on the state of the art in cancer immunology, which has rapidly evolved from a field of clinical research into an established discipline of oncology.”
Three key topics from Cancer Immunotherapy Meets Oncology:
- An updated look at cancer immunology
- Descriptions of the most promising therapeutic concepts, including combination therapies and personalized medicine
- The role of biomarkers in guiding the clinical development of new treatments
This cancer and the immune system eBook covers the latest knowledge about immune suppression and cancer. The eBook also shares new strategies for using the immune system to attack cancer, as well as specific combinations of immunotherapy and chemotherapy to improve the treatment of advanced cancers.
Three key topics from Cancer Immunotherapy, 2nd Edition: Immune Suppression and Tumor Growth:
- Concepts useful to cancer immunologists and pharmacologists
- How immune escape defines an essential trait of cancer
- Molecular-targeted therapeutic drugs and chemotherapy may combine with immunotherapy to revers immune suppression and improve anti-tumor efficacy
Volume 1 in the Frontiers in Cancer Immunology Book Series, this cancer and the immune system eBook considers immunotherapy as an important field of research because cancer patient outcomes have not improved with conventional therapies. Notably, cancer immunotherapy has achieved breakthroughs in cancer patient prognosis.
Three key topics from Cancer Immunotherapy: Mechanisms of Cancer Immunity, Engineering Immune-Based Therapies and Developing Clinical Trials:
- Cancer immunotherapy methods
- Current trends in all branches of cancer immunology
- The major immune system components that have shown the ability to slow the growth of or kill tumor cells
- Single user/Non-library usage: $99
- Multi user/Library usage: $396
- Print-On-Demand: $129
- Single user/Non-libary usage + Print-On-Demand: $178
From Cambridge University Press, Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy is an eBook edited by Peter Stern of the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Peter C. L. Beverley of University College London, and Miles Carroll of Oxford BioMedica Ltd. The eBook addresses the recent progress in defining tumor antigens and immunization methods that are bringing us closer to effective cancer vaccines.
Three key topics from Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy:
- Therapeutic cancer vaccine strategies
- The rationale, development, and implementation of vaccines in human cancer treatment
- Target identification, delivery vectors, and clinical trial design
25. An Effective Immune Response Is Specific, Adaptable, and Durable
Dendreon focuses on “targeting cancer to transform lives through the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics.” Their cancer and the immune system multimedia resource visualizes the three cell types that are involved in immune response and how those cells initiate the natural immune response to cancer. Also available are three videos explaining how effective immune responses are specific, adaptable, and durable.
Three key ideas from An Effective Immune Response Is Specific, Adaptable, and Durable:
- Immunotherapy treatment activates T cells and B cells that target specific tumor antigens
- Immunotherapy treatment supports the immune system’s ability to adapt its attack over time
- Immunotherapy stimulates immunologic memory, which has the potential to lead to a prolonged anti-tumor response
26. What Is Cancer Immunotherapy?
The Cancer Research Institute is “leading global efforts to harness the power of the immune system to conquer all cancers.” Their infographic, What Is Cancer Immunotherapy?, outlines the need for such treatment, explains why it is important, and offers an in-depth look at immunotherapy treatments for cancer.
Three key points from What Is Cancer Immunotherapy?:
- Cancer deaths worldwide are expected to increase twofold by 2030
- Immunotherapy is universal in nature and could be applied to nearly all cancers
- Immunotherapy selectively kills cancerous cells with few to no side effects, unlike chemotherapy and radiation, which kill both healthy and cancerous cells and have many side effects
This cancer and the immune system infographic from Salvagente refers to work by Dr. James P. Allison of Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The infographic illustrates how T cells’ CTLA-4 protein suppresses their ability to attack cancer cells, and the possible solution researchers are focusing on in oder to create a more aggressive immune system to kill cancer cells.
Three key facts from Cancer and the Immune System:
- Tumor cells do not have B7 molecules that are needed to turn on T cells
- Injecting antibodies to CTLA_4 prevents the protein from binding with molecules on the T cell and sending the signal to turn off the T cells
- Dendritic cells are the part of the immune system that break up the cancer’s antigen and present it to T cells for a response, but they also have the ability to turn off the T cell
The Diane Rehm Show is an award-winning daily news magazine program that focuses on politics and current affairs. This cancer and the immune system resource introduces immunotherapy as an alternative treatment to surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy and features Dr. Steven Rosenberg, chief of surgery at National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health, Dr. John Sampson, chief of neurosurgery at Duke University Medical Center, and Dr. Suzanne Topalian, professor of surgery and oncology and director of the Johns Hopkins Melanoma Program at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. You may listen to or read this cancer and the immune system resource, as both the audio and transcripts are available.
Three points from The Latest Research On Using the Body’s Own Immune System To Fight Cancer:
- Immunotherapy is showing promising results for several kinds of cancers, including brain, bladder, and skin
- Much more research needs to be done in order to determine which patients will see results from immunotherapy
- In some cases, immunotherapy works for patients when no other therapy or treatment has
Cancer Support Community is “a global network of education and hope.” They offer a variety of cancer and the immune system resources, including fact sheets, videos, articles, and more so that you and your family can become educated about cancer immunotherapy.
Three resources from Your Immune System & Cancer Treatment:
A correspondent and senior editor at NPR, Rob Stein focuses on health, medicine, and biomedical research. His cancer and the immune system resource, Harnessing the Immune System To Fight Cancer, is a multimedia resource featuring animated graphics, audio, and an article. Barbara Marder, a lung cancer patient, is the focus of the story, as she undergoes immunotherapy treatment at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
Three key ideas we from Harnessing the Immune System To Fight Cancer:
- Cancer has the ability to stop the immune system from recognizing it as an invader and prevent it from attacking cancer cells
- Checkpoint inhibitors are the drugs that make the immune system aware of cancer, “so it can’t shield itself from the immune system”
- For some patients, immunotherapy works on even the “toughest tumors, such as some melanomas, the deadliest kind of skin cancer”
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a leading center for expert cancer care and advanced research. Their cancer and the immune system resource is a multimedia resource that features Dr. Stephen Hodi, director of the Center for Immune-Oncology and the Melanoma Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, who studies how to enable the immune system to fight cancer. You may read the article and view Dr. Hodi’s presentation, Science, Innovation, and Discovery.
Three key points from How the Body’s Immune System Can Fight Cancer:
- Immunotherapy has been effective in fighting melanoma, prostate cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and specific types of brain tumors
- The immune system’s own stopping points prevent it from attacking cancer cells and tumors
- “If we are ever going to ever use the phrase ‘cure for cancer,’ the immune system is likely to have an important role.” ~ Dr. Stephen Hodi
This podcast from the Nuffield Department of Medicine, Medical Sciences Division, features Dr. Mads Gyrd-Hansen, who explains the link between innate immunity and cancer. The podcast is part of the Meet Our Researchers series, which features a question and answer format and includes the transcript of the video, allowing viewers to get a better understanding of Dr. Gyrd-Hansen’s research on cancer and the immune system.
Three key points from Mads Gyrd-Hansen: Cancer and Innate Immunity:
- Several cancers utilize inflammation, a normal part of the immune system, to promote their own growth
- The relationship between humans and our microbial environment is important when trying to understand the effect it has on our health
- Studying how immune system signaling works is key to understanding how to control the immune system and the way in which it fights invading cells, so that researchers can develop drugs to better treat cancer
Novel Targets seeks to “bring to life the science around innovative new drugs, gene and cell therapies.” This cancer and the immune system podcast focuses on cancer immunotherapy and features Dr. Daniel Chen, Roche Genentech Cancer Immunotherapy Head.
Three key topics from Prologue 2: Using Our Immune System to Fight Cancer:
- Checkpoint inhibition
- Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell therapy
- Checkpoint inhibitors’ ability to enable T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells
MIT’s Koch Institute focuses on next generation cancer solutions. Their cancer and the immune system video, Engineering the Immune System, is part of their Research Animations series.
Three key points from Engineering the Immune System:
- Researchers are working to equip the immune system to fight off cancer
- A new nanoparticle-based system boosts the immune response to cancer
- T cells are part of the body’s immune response to cancer, as they identify tumors and attempt to eliminate them
Dr. Francis S. Collins is the Director of the National Institute of Health. He shares this cool video by Alex T. Ritter that highlights the immune system’s ability to destroy cancerous cells by showing exactly how a cytotoxic T cell destroys a cancer cell.
Three key points from Cool Videos: Cytotoxic T Cells on Patrol:
- Cytotoxic T cells are a specialized component of our immune system
- Cytotoxic T cells identify and eliminate foreign cells and dangerous cells in a process that takes merely ten minutes
- The immune system naturally kills cancerous cells, which is why cancer immunotherapy is so promising
Stanford University School of Medicine combines research, education, patient care, and community service. Their cancer and the immune system video, Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer, features Dr. Ron Levy.
Three key points from Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer:
- Immunotherapy is an emerging form of cancer treatment
- Immunotherapy has the potential to become extremely effective in treating cancer
- Doctors can tailor immunotherapy treatments to patients using their own antibodies
Suman Bhattacharjee presents his cancer and the immune system video, Cancer Immunology (Immune Response Against Cancer), to illustrate the “war between the cancer cells and the immune system cells.” Like a lecture, the video walks viewers through the types of immune cells and cancer cells and the ways in which they interact with one another.
Three key facts from Cancer Immunology (Immune Response Against Cancer):
- Cancer immunology is leading to new vaccines and antibody therapies to treat cancer patients
- To some extent, anti-tumor immunity is present in colorectal cancers in humans
- Cancer immunotherapies may treat and slow the progression of cancer in humans
Nature Reviews Drug Discovery presents this cancer and the immune system video, which has been produced with support from Bavarian Nordic and Dendreon. The video guides viewers through the various strategies researchers are studying in order to combat cancer using the immune system.
Three key points from Immunotherapy: Boosting the Immune System to Fight Cancer:
- It is possible to teach the immune system to identify and eliminate cancer cells
- The FDA is approving immunotherapeutic anti-cancer drugs, and several drugs are in late-stage development
- Immunotherapy is not new, but cancer immunotherapy treatments are taking hold now
CNN’s Don Melvin reports that researchers conducted an international study that found a combination of drugs helped the immune system to fight cancer, and actually “stopped the deadly skin cancer melanoma from advancing for nearly a year in 58% of the cases.” This study and others touting the potential of the immune system to fight cancer were presented in Chicago at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Three key points from Researchers Hail New Cancer Treatment: Unlocking the Body’s Immune System:
- Immunotherapy drugs have proven to be effective in treating melanoma
- 36% of patients receiving the two-drug combination had to stop therapy as a result of the side effects
- Immunotherapy may be most helpful for patients who have cancers that are difficult to treat, like melanoma, advanced lung cancer, or cancer that has spread throughout the body
As CBS News reports, immunotherapy for cancer was the focus of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting for 2015. The video report on cancer and the immune system reminds cancer patients to get a second opinion on diagnoses.
Three key points from Cancer Study Looks At Using Immune System to Fight Disease:
- Immunotherapy may be used to treat colon cancer
- Radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy can fail cancer patients who then find success with immunotherapy treatment
- Immunotherapy may be applicable to other cancers in patients who have genetic mutations that allow immunotherapy to work
41. New Treatment Helps Immune System Fight Cancer In Trials
This cancer and the immune system video report from CNN describes how immunotherapy is considered a breakthrough in fighting one of the deadliest types of cancer, advanced melanoma. Immunotherapy treatment is successfully shrinking tumors and helping cancer patients get back to living their lives.
Three key points from New Treatment Helps Immune System Fight Cancer In Trials:
- A combination of immunotherapy drugs seems to be the most effective at fighting cancer
- Immunotherapy offers hope to cancer patients who lacked it prior to beginning the treatments
- Immunotherapy may be expanded to help fight other forms of cancer
42. Breakthroughs in Cancer Immunotherapy Webinar: Dr. Lawrence Fong, Can the Immune System See Colorectal Cancer?
Made available by the Cancer Research Institute, this cancer and the immune system webinar features Dr. Lawrence Fong, associate professor of medicine in the division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of California. The focus of the webinar shifts from the importance of immune responses in colorectal cancers to developments in immunotherapy for colorectal cancer, vaccines, and immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Three key facts from Breakthroughs in Cancer Immunotherapy Webinar:
- Patients whose immune systems infiltrate their tumors have a better clinical outcome
- Developments in immunotherapy have been made for colorectal cancer
- Researchers are busily studying antigen-specific recognition of tumors in responses and side effects
Offered by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, this webinar is presented by Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D. of the National Cancer Institute, Eric Tran, Ph.D. from the National Institutes of Health Surgery Branch, Tumor Immunology Section, and Melinda Bachini, a CCF Patient Advocate and NIH Research Study Participant. The webinar focuses on NIH clinical trial NCT01174121 using adoptive cell therapy, a technique that harnesses a person’s own immune system to battle cancer.
Three key points from Using Patients’ Own Immune System to Knock-out Cancer: Adoptive Cell Therapy:
- Adoptive Cell Therapy involves the transfer of activated immune cells, usually T cells, that can target the cancer
- Adoptive transfer of TIL can cure some patients with metastatic melanoma
- Adoptive transfer of T cells genetically modified with receptors targeting CD19 can mediate regression in patients with B-cell cancers
44. Cancer Research Institute: Breakthroughs in Cancer Immunotherapy Webinar Series
The Cancer Research Institute leads global efforts to harness the power of the immune system to conquer all types of cancer. As immunotherapy is making incredible strides in the treatment of cancer, this Breakthroughs in Cancer Immunotherapy Webinar Series takes a look at the advances made possible through immunotherapy treatments. With an archive of past webinars presented by leading experts in immunology, there’s a wealth of information to be found here.
Three webinars to watch from Cancer Research Institute: Breakthroughs in Cancer Immunotherapy Webinar Series:
- Getting to Cures: The Next Five Years in Immunotherapy
- Cancer Revealed: How Our Immune System Sees and Destroys Tumors
- Reactivating Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
The Cancer Support Community (CSC) aims to empower every individual impacted by cancer in some way with knowledge, strengthen those affected by cancer with action and sustain everyone impacted by cancer with community. The CSC provides a wealth of information on cancer, treatments, research, and other advancements, along with supportive resources. Two webinars are available from the CSC, covering immunotherapy advances in the treatment of lung cancer and melanoma.
Three key points from Cancer Support Community Webinars:
- Immunotherapy is the newest approach to treating advanced or metastatic lung cancer
- Immunotherapy uses the body’s natural defense system to fight cancer
- Immunotherapy is also a new approach to treating advanced or metastatic melanoma
The American Association for the Advancement of Science publishes Science, a leading resource for scientific news, commentary, and research. Their cancer and the immune system webinar, Culturing Patient Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy: Challenges and Opportunities, is part of the Science Webinar Series and takes a close look at “the conditions contributing to a healthy cell culture environment and explore ways to optimize high cell density culture.” The webinar features Dr. Bruce Levine, director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Stephen Minger, chief scientist and global head of Research and Development, Research and Applied Markets at GE Healthcare Life Sciences.
Three key topics from Culturing Patient Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy: Challenges and Opportunities:
- Large cell culture best practices
- Achieving high cell densities through the use of optimized mixing, aeration, and perfusion
- Culture techniques and technologies in basic and clinical research
From Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, this cancer and the immune system webinar is presented by Dr. Robert Vonderheide from the University of Pennsylvania. The webinar explores strategies being used to tap into the immune system to fight cancer and the progress being made in the field.
Three key points from Immune Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer:
- Early detection of pancreatic cancer is difficult
- There has been some success in combining vaccines with checkpoint antibody for pancreatic cancer patients
- More clinical trials will be critical for studying the effects of immunotherapy on pancreatic cancer patients, as only 4% of those patients ever go on a clinical trial
This scholarly article by Alexandre Corthay examines whether cancer prevention is a primary function of the body’s immune system, presenting eight types of evidence in support of the cancer immunosurveillance hypothesis.
Three key points from Does the Immune System Naturally Protect Against Cancer?:
- Primary immunodeficiency in mice and humans is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer
- Organ transplant recipients treated with immunosuppressive drugs are more susceptible to developing cancer
- An elevated risk of cancer exists in persons with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
This scholarly article examines attempts to utilize a patient’s immune system so that it acts against lung cancer cells, which have been unsuccessful in past decades. However, advances in the understanding of the immune response to tumors has allowed researchers to develop novel immunotherapeutic agents. This publication reviews two of the latest major approaches to the treatment of lung cancer using immunotherapy.
Three key points from Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer: Ongoing Clinical Trials:
- Modulation of patients’ immune systems in effort to force it to act against lung cancer cells was an unsuccessful approach in previous decades
- There have been advances in our understanding of how the immune system acts against and responds to cancer cells
- Recent Phase II trials with newer treatments have shown promising results of efficacy and tolerability
Cost: Subscription required for full text
A leading cancer care and cancer research center, MD Anderson Cancer Center offers its annual reports. In Winter 2014, the subject of the annual report was the immune system and cancer. Available at no cost online as a collection of short reports online, Treat the Immune System, Attack Cancer covers melanoma, T cells, and other information pertinent to understanding cancer and the immune system.
Three key reports from Treat the Immune System, Attack the Cancer:
- Strength in Numbers: Send in the Reinforcements
- Born to Beat Cancer
- Unleashing the Immune System’s Attack Dogs