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ASCO Names Cancer Immunotherapy “Advance of the Year”

February 05, 2016 | Alexandra Mulvey

In its just-released annual report, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)—the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer—has named cancer immunotherapy the “Advance of the Year.” 

“Although all research achievements highlighted in this report are remarkable, one area clearly stands out from the rest: cancer immunotherapy,” the editors at ASCO note.

They go on to describe the many advances in immunotherapy over the past year, spanning several types of cancer. The checkpoint inhibitor PD-1—which “takes the brakes off” the immune system—was approved for lung and kidney cancer (it was approved for melanoma in 2014). In addition, clinical trial results showed that PD-1 or PD-L1 antibodies could benefit patients with bladder cancer, liver cancer, head and neck cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and colorectal cancer. The report also featured CAR therapy for leukemia and lymphoma as well as a therapeutic vaccine for glioblastoma, the most dangerous and aggressive form of brain cancer.

The ASCO Clinical Cancer Advances 2016 report explores the key advances across the cancer care continuum and identifies emerging cancer care trends, such as new precision medicine strategies to tackle treatment-resistant cancers and increasing research on improving patient quality of life. A digital version of the report is available here.

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