A high-profile article in today’s Wall Street Journal delves into the surprising cancer cases that have everyone talking about the power of immunotherapy to save lives. As a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy for more than 60 years, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) is excited to see immune-based treatments for cancer featured in such a prominent and important piece. The immunology research that CRI funds is more important than ever, as these stories of ‘super survivors’ testify.
Among the patients featured are several, including Joseph Rick and Sharon Belvin, who were treated by CRI-funded scientists, with immunotherapies developed by CRI-funded scientists. Joseph was near death from stage 4 melanoma but given a second chance at life by the drug tremelimumab, an anti-CTLA-4 antibody made by our clinical trial partner MedImmune. He was treated at UCLA medical center by Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., a member of our clinical trials network. We featured Joseph's story as part of our “30 Days, 30 Stories” campaign in June during Cancer Immunotherapy Month.
At CRI, we refer to Sharon Belvin as our "mom made possible." After beating cancer at age 24 with the help of the drug Yervoy® (ipilimumab), she went on to have two children. Her doctor was Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/Ludwig Cancer Research and director of CRI’s clinical program. Sharon was one of the earliest patients to receive ipilimumab when it was in clinical testing, and is now one of the longest-living survivors.
The list of scientists featured in the WSJ article reads like a who’s who of CRI’s scientific leadership. In addition to Dr. Wolchok, the article also features interviews with James Allison, Ph.D., director of CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) and chair of immunology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., an SAC member and a professor at Johns Hopkins, F. Stephen Hodi, M.D., a member of our clinical trials network and an investigator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and David Lane, Ph.D., a former CRI postdoctoral fellow who is now scientific director of Ludwig Cancer Research in New York.
Take a look at the inspiring story, and consider making a donation to CRI today so that together we can continue to make much-needed research progress.