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CNN Special Covers Advances in Immunotherapy, Coley Award Winner Featured

August 22, 2014 | Matthew Tontonoz

On Friday, August 22, 2014, CNN aired a three-part series on cancer immunotherapy as part of its Vital Signs program. Hosted by medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the series features the exciting advances in cancer care being achieved by several different types of immunotherapy.

The first segment tells the story of lung cancer patient Maureen O'Grady, treated with an immunotherapy called nivolumab. A member of a new class of drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, nivolumab "takes the brakes off the immune response," enabling a more powerful immune response against cancer. After failing chemotherapy, Maureen was treated with nivolumab as part of a clinical trial, and is still alive four years later. Maureen’s amazing story is reminiscent of Pam G’s story, which we featured this June as part of Cancer Immunotherapy Month.

The second segment features the work of Yale University researcher Lieping Chen, M.D., Ph.D., who is also one of this year’s Coley Award winners. Chen’s work, and that of the other Coley Award winners, was crucial in the development of nivolumab and other checkpoint inhibitors that target the PD-1 checkpoint on T cells. 

The final segment features the inspiring story of 8-year-old Emily Whitehead, who survived advanced leukemia with the help of an immunotherapy called CAR-T cell therapy, developed by CRI Scientific Advisory Council member Carl June, M.D., at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

For more information on the immunotherapies discussed in this series, and to learn how you can contribute to the effort of advancing immunotherapy for all cancer patients, visit the and


I have pancreatic cancer recurrence. Are there any treatments with immunotherapy for PC?
9/3/2014 4:18:48 PM

I did Nivolumab in a 30 month trial at H Lee Moffitt. I am NED (no evidence of disease) 4+ years. I have Stage 4 Melanoma.
8/23/2014 10:23:47 AM