By Luke Gill, Executive Director, Oncology, Strategic Development
Over the past decade, immuno-oncology has become one of the most promising and fastest-growing areas of cancer research and drug development. Present-day advances in immuno-oncology can be attributed to a paradigm shift in the understanding of cancer.
Up until the late 1990s and early 2000s, cancer was considered a disease of genetic origin, with hallmarks including sustained proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, the ability to promote angiogenesis, and the ability to promote invasion and metastasis. However, this view failed to take into account the dynamic nature of the interactions between the tumor and its microenvironment – not just the normal cells in the surrounding tissue, but also the immune system.
Advances in our understanding of the dual role that the immune system plays in cancer have led to the development of immunotherapies that target both the tumor and its microenvironment. In this white paper, we explore the role of the immune system in cancer development, as well as the history and challenges of developing immunotherapies for cancer.