Article | August 27, 2021

A Primer On Cancer Immunotherapy Part 1: Goals And Major Approaches

By Ashley Herrick, Executive Director, Oncology Program Strategy, Premier Research

T cells attacking cancer cells iStock-1065829304

In recent years, immunotherapy has led to substantial advances in cancer therapy. In particular, the immune checkpoint inhibitors — PD-1/PD-L1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors — have revolutionized treatment for certain hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six immunotherapies across 19 cancer types and two tissue-agnostic conditions.

But widespread use of immune checkpoint therapy to treat cancers is hampered by unpredictable response rates and immune-related adverse events. To address these challenges, researchers are increasingly looking to combination therapies as a strategy for improving response and overcoming resistance. This post provides an introduction to cancer immunotherapy, exploring its immunological basis and the fundamental principles guiding the development of new treatments.

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