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Immunotherapy: using your immune cells to fight cancer

Pioneering Science Immunotherapy

Eureka moment: 2018. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to two cancer immunotherapy researchers: James Allison PhD of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Dr Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University in Japan. 

Why it matters: Their discoveries have led to the development of multiple immunotherapy drugs in the fight against cancer, including avelumab (Bavencio) and durvalumab (Imfinzi).

How it’s being used now: CAR-T cell therapy – meaning chimeric antigen receptor technology – has become THE most promising field of cancer therapy in the past few years. According to Bioinformant, more than $100 billion in market capitalization has been created in CAR-T companies in just the past few years.

What’s next: Immunotherapy is now considered the fifth pillar of cancer therapy, alongside surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and precision medicine.

To dig deeper: https://www.med.upenn.edu/cci/; https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2018/press-release/