News & Publications

What It Takes to Find the Cure Within You

December 28, 2012 | Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D.

Daniel Enger's Dec. 21, 2012, New York Times article titled, "Is the Cure for Cancer Inside You?" about Dr. Ralph Steinman’s quest to find immune-based treatments for cancer highlighted a critical but often overlooked challenge facing our work.

Ralph Steinman in 1983Science continues to paint a clearer picture of what must happen in order for us to harness the immune system's full therapeutic potential against cancer. Different immunotherapies with complementary effects must be administered in combination in order to sufficiently activate, enhance, and sustain an anti-cancer immune attack.

As Dr. Liz Jaffee notes in the article, bureaucratic hurdles significantly hamper this effort.

The Cancer Research Institute is tackling this problem through a novel non-profit strategy called the Clinical Accelerator. This program joins the expertise of a network of clinicians and tumor immunologists with the resources of a venture philanthropy fund. Working with biotech and pharmaceutical companies, we along with our partner, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, negotiate access to proprietary therapeutic agents, and together we design, fund, and manage clinical trials that test these agents in combination with others within an academic global clinical trials network.

By building access to a "menu" of top agents from different companies, CRI and Ludwig can initiate studies of potentially complementary drugs, even if they are owned by different companies, enabling cancer patients to gain access to state-of-the-art therapies.

Many more successes are now on the horizon, and by bringing together the powerful expertise and resources of both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, we can significantly accelerate the development of the more effective immunotherapies that Ralph Steinman so presciently envisioned.

My 6 year old son was diagnosed with Refractive High Risk Myeloid Leukemia FLT3 when he was 5 years old, on July 17, 2009. We have been thgruoh 6 rounds of chemo, both studies, and are on a phase 1 study. This poem really speaks to my heart. I just want my son to be able to grow up and live out his dreams. He should not have to be fighting for his life. Thank you for this poem
6/8/2013 6:27:49 PM