Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog




Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: 2021 Immunotherapy Research Updates

ASCO recently named “Molecular Profiling Drives Progress in Gastrointestinal Cancers” the 2021 Advance of the Year. One of those molecular profiling success stories is pembrolizumab doubling the time to disease progression in patients with advanced colorectal cancer with DNA mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR). This is one of several promising biomarkers that are helping guide who will benefit from which immunotherapies—and providing targets for research to make more effective treatments for everyone in future. 

This March for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we look at new research, new treatments, and how we’re working toward a future immune to colorectal cancer. 

Colorectal Cancer Treatment Landscape Update

At the 2020 CRI Virtual Immunotherapy Patient Summit, Dr. Scott Kopetz, the vice chair for translational research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discussed what patients with colorectal cancer need to know and answered audience questions.

Colorectal Cancer Patient Perspective

How can patients and caregivers become informed decision-makers and self-advocate during their treatment journeys? At the 2020 CRI Virtual Immunotherapy Patient Summit, we invited three cancer veterans to share their experiences, including Stephen Estrada, who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2013.

Colorectal Cancer Scientist Spotlight

Regulatory T cells serve as the guardians of immune stability—nudging lazy immune cells along or stopping them from overreacting. However, cancer may trick regulatory T cells into protecting the tumor. CRI Fellow Xiao Huang, PhD is studying the role of peripheral regulatory T cells in colorectal cancer to clarify their role and find new strategies for T cell-based immunotherapies.


Colorectal Cancer Patient Story

Michaela’s mother, father, uncle, and two aunts were each diagnosed with a different cancer and suffered through months to years of different combinations of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries. All eventually died from cancer. In some way, Michaela was preparing her entire life for her own cancer diagnosis at age 40. Fortunately, a session with a genetic counselor revealed that she had Lynch syndrome, which led her to the immunotherapy clinical trial that saved her life.


Immunotherapy for Colorectal Cancer Information Updated

On June 16, 2020, the U.S. FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda), a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, to treat patients whose advanced solid cancers—including colorectal cancer—have a high tumor mutational burden (TMB-H) and have proven resistant to available treatments. This is the second biomarker-based indication regardless of cancer type to receive FDA approval. As the research and treatment landscape evolves, we keep our immunotherapy for colorectal cancer information up to date.

VIEW Colorectal Cancer UPDATE

Find a Cancer Clinical Trial

A variety of new and promising cancer immunotherapy treatments are only available to patients in clinical trials. The CRI Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder will match you to trials for which you may be eligible, and you can help speed the development of potentially lifesaving drugs for yourself and others.

FIND A Cancer Clinical TRIAL

Support Colorectal Cancer Research

Hyun Jung Kim, PhD, a CRI Technology Impact Award recipient at the University of Texas at Austin, is developing a 3D cancer-on-a-chip. With this, he plans to explore how gut bacteria influence responses to immunotherapy and hopes to uncover important insights that may ultimately lead to improved treatment outcomes for more colorectal cancer patients. This Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, support lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research.

DONATE to colorectal cancer research

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