Enlisting the Body Itself to Fight Cancer

June 14, 2011

The Wall Street Journal

A Wall Street Journal article explores the growing field of immunotherapy as a treatment for cancer, which exploits a function in all cells that prevents the immune system from killing them. Researchers have found that cancer cells have multiple methods of avoiding detection and suppressing the immune system's response. "Why would cancer devote so much energy to avoid the immune system if the immune system didn't have the potential to reject the cancer?" said Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, an associate professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. The idea of using the immune system first drew significant research attention in the mid- to late-1990s, but multiple failures led to widespread discouragement, Vonderheide says. Developments in recent years have produced the momentum that researchers believe will allow it to reach the next level of more powerful treatments and, ultimately, their combination with both traditional drugs and other immunotherapies, he says... Read More