Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog




Bladder Cancer Awareness Month: 2021 Immunotherapy Research Updates

In December, we asked Dr. Terence Friedlander of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center about major areas of research in bladder cancer. He replied:

“While immune therapy is very effective for some patients, there are still a majority of patients who don’t have durable (long lasting) responses, so understanding why these patients don’t respond to any therapy is a major area of research. Additionally, there are a number of other strategies (chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and others) that have promise even if they are unlikely to cure a patient of bladder cancer, as they may significantly prolong patients’ lives and prevent morbidity.”

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

Bladder Cancer Treatment Landscape Update

At the 2020 Virtual Immunotherapy Patient Summit, Dr. Terence Friedlander discussed what patients with bladder cancer need to know about immunotherapy and answered audience questions about clinical trials, COVID-19, and genetic testing, among other topics.


RonIn September 2013, Ron was diagnosed with muscle-invasive, high-grade urothelial bladder cancer. After chemotherapy and surgery failed to keep his cancer at bay, he underwent tests and was approved to participate in a clinical trial combining the immunotherapies nivolumab (Opdivo), a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, and ipilimumab (Yervoy), a CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor. In April 2020, six years after diagnosis and over four years out of treatment, he joined a survivorship program at MD Anderson.


Cancer Researcher

Andrea SchietingerCRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Andrea Schietinger, PhD, is working to better characterize the factors that dictate T cell dysfunction and ultimately develop strategies that can overcome these hurdles and make immunotherapy more effective for more patients. Her lab is using preclinical models as well as and cancer patient samples to determine the molecular programs regulating the function of tumor-infiltrating T cells.

Discover Andrea’s Cancer Research 

Immunotherapy for Bladder Cancer
Information Updated

Two treatments—atezolizumab (Tecentriq) and durvalumab (Imfinzi)—were recently withdrawn from certain bladder cancer treatment indications. As the research and treatment landscape evolves, we keep our information up to date.

VIEW Bladder Cancer UPDATE

Find a Bladder Cancer Clinical Trial

A variety of new and promising cancer immunotherapy treatments are only available to patients in clinical trials. Help speed the development of potentially lifesaving drugs. Discover trials for which you or a loved one may be eligible with the CRI Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder.

FIND A Cancer Clinical TRIAL

Support Bladder Cancer Research

CRI scientists Jianjun Gao, MD, PhD, Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD, and team at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center published early data from a phase 1 clinical trial in Nature Medicine. The study demonstrated pre-surgical combination treatment with two immune checkpoint inhibitors was well-tolerated and showed early signs of activity in a subset of patients with bladder cancer. This Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, support lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research.

DONATE to bladder cancer research

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