Williams Cancer Institute


Unlike traditional cancer treatments that directly attack cancer cells, Allison and de Honjo researched about how to help patients whose own immune system defeat cancer more quickly.

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that stimulates the body’s natural defenses. “It uses substances made by our body or made in a laboratory to improve or restore the function of the immune system.”

Immunotherapy is less toxic, is more targeted and represents an improvement in quality of life in relation to chemotherapy. In addition, the side effects are less than chemotherapy in terms of alopecia, decrease in white blood cells, asthenia, or anorexia.

Theoretically any cancer can be treated with immunotherapy. The first attempts at immunological manipulation began 100 years ago but there have been clinical studies, especially in the last five years, where an impact on the survival of cancer patients has been demonstrated with new therapies that are transforming the lives of these patients at the same time while helping to conduct future research.

Since 2014, when the therapeutic advance was considered, two products were marketed with a specific indication for metastatic melanoma and lung cancer with survival benefits where there are few therapeutic options.

Since then, a clinical benefit has been shown in a variety of tumors such as head and neck cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, melanoma and other skin cancers, liver cancer, lymphomas, leukemias, currently existing clinical trials for the rest of the tumors. This benefit has been observed in the metastatic phase of these tumors, which has generated high expectations that it can be incorporated in earlier phases of the disease to increase the possibility of cure.

Reference:  Asociación Americana de Oncología, 2019, 13 julio, La inmunoterapia se convirtió en la primera línea de tratamiento para combatir varios tipos de cáncer, https://tn.com.ar/salud/noticias/2019/07/13/la-inmunoterapia-se-convirtio-en-la-primera-linea-de-tratamiento-para-combatir-varios-tipos-de-cancer/

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