Understanding the history of immunotherapy for cancer.
In the late 1800s, William B. Coley created a concoction out of bacteria and injected it into cancer patients. The first patient treated with what became known as “Coley’s Toxins” — a 21-year-old man with an inoperable tumor — was cured of his cancer. Though that might not have been the very first foray into immunotherapy as cancer treatment, it certainly was one of the earliest. Coley spent decades studying how bacterial infections affected cancers, earning him the moniker of the “father of immunotherapy.” Since then, the field has come a long way.
Immunotherapy is a means of encouraging a patient’s own immune defense mechanisms to do what they’re already supposed to — protect the body against bad stuff. Immunotherapy researchers and practitioners have had a recent spate of dramatic successes in the area of cancer treatment. Some members of the public have taken note, and the recent announcements of two new immunotherapy centers focused on cancer research and treatment — the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy — highlight a newfound, popular appreciation for the field.
But why has immunotherapy suddenly become such a darling of cancer research and its funders?
The answer lies in its potential to be a broadly used and durable treatment.
Read Full Article: Great Hope for Immunotherapy
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