Immune response and cancer therapy, Science News, November 8, 1969 —
The dream of a cancer vaccine is still just that — a dream. But experimenters at Emory University in Atlanta have shown that the basic mechanism — stimulation of an immune response — can take place.
Researchers have devised several ways of getting the immune system to prevent or control cancer. Vaccinations against human papillomavirus, or HPV, prevent infections that cause cervical and other cancers. Hepatitis B vaccines may head off some forms of liver cancer.
Other strategies, like CAR-T cell therapy and PD-1 blockade therapy (SN: 7/11/15, p. 14), prompt T cells of the immune system to go after tumors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first PD-1 blockade therapy in 2011 and then two CAR-T cell therapies in 2017 for patients with certain types of cancers (SN: 12/23/17 & 1/6/18, p. 29). Overstimulating the immune system can produce severe side effects, so scientists are working to develop safer options (SN: 7/7/18, p. 22).