Wall Street Journal on Immune Therapies

A general interest article on immunotherapy from the Wall Street Journal: "Scientists are scrambling to develop medications that fight cancer by spurring the body's immune system, a form of treatment that some cancer specialists believe may hold the key to keeping a patient permanently disease-free. ... immunotherapy drugs are being developed for a number of other cancers, including lung, brain and kidney cancers. Unlike most traditional therapies that attack a cancer directly, immunotherapy uses the body's own internal defenses to ward off the disease, with the ultimate hope of building up a long-term resistance to the cancer. ... The growing interest in immunotherapy comes even as traditional cancer-targeting drugs have become more effective. Still, such drugs often just delay the ultimate recurrence of the disease as tumors develop resistance to the treatment, or some cancer cells survive the therapy and regrow. The hope is that the immune system's long-term activity against the cancer could stop this cycle. ... Immunotherapies can work in several ways. They can help the immune system increase its response so that it fights the cancer better; they can stop cancers from slowing down or halting the immune system's activation; or they can help the immune system find the tumor and kill it. ... The idea of using the immune system first drew significant research attention in the mid- to late-1990s, but multiple failures led to widespread discouragement ... Developments in recent years have produced the momentum that researchers believe will allow it to reach the next level of more powerful treatments and, ultimately, their combination with both traditional drugs and other immunotherapies."

Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304778304576377892911572686.html

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