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A Game-Changing Moment in Cancer

December 13, 2012 | Brian Brewer

We’ve reached a “game-changing” moment in cancer.

Immune-based cancer treatments are saving lives—sometimes curing patients outright. Stories of survival against the grimmest odds are becoming more common. Like the story of Emma Whitehead, the six-year-old girl from Pennsylvania with end-stage leukemia whose life was saved by an experimental treatment, an immunotherapy that turned her own immune system into a cancer-fighting army.

Or the story of Mary Elizabeth Williams, a New York City mother of two whose advanced skin cancer nearly claimed her life, but who is now cancer-free thanks to an immunotherapy that boosted her immune system’s ability to destroy her tumors.

These stories of success demonstrate how immunotherapy is revolutionizing the face of cancer. These treatments—the genetically engineered immune cells for Emma and the antibodies that revved up Mary Elizabeth’s defenses—are just two among the many promising immune-based therapies that are now being tested in clinics worldwide and are saving patients every day.

The Cancer Research Institute is the pioneering nonprofit that, for 60 years, has funded the science making these breakthrough therapies possible. Today, we celebrate these stories of hope and survival once thought impossible.

We at CRI will continue to drive the cutting-edge research that leads to these revolutionary, life-saving treatments. We believe we have found the beginning of the end of cancer. And we are not alone: many of world’s most accomplished researchers and doctors agree that it is only a matter of time before all cancer patients can benefit from these new immune-based treatments. We will never stop until that day comes.

Photo: Emma Whitehead and her mother. © Jeff Swensen/New York Times

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