In some ways, cancer immunotherapy’s rise has been sudden. Due to the rapid pace of approvals over the past several years, many more people can now receive these immune-based treatments. The long-term survival seen in patients with a variety of previously terminal cancer types is both astonishing and encouraging.
However, these promising therapies didn’t emerge out of nowhere. The sound scientific foundation that made them possible took a long time to build. Only through decades of basic research and clinical investigation have we acquired our current grasp of the immune system’s cancer-fighting capabilities.
When the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) was founded in 1953, little was known about cancer and even less about the immune system. Since then, the field of cancer immunology has blossomed and immunotherapy has begun to revolutionize how cancer is treated in the clinic, thanks in part to CRI scientists.
Therefore, during the sixth annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month (#CIM18) this June, we’ll be recognizing their contributions and raising awareness of CRI’s impact on the field of cancer immunotherapy. Through our “30 Days of CRI Impact” we will highlight thirty of the most important and innovative breakthroughs that were funded by CRI.
It wasn’t easy choosing our “Top 30” breakthroughs. After all, over the last 65 years, we’ve supported more than 3,100 physicians and researchers at some of the top biomedical institutions in the world. Furthermore, science—and especially the translational science that provided today’s promising immunotherapies—is a team endeavor. The road from a lab discovery to a clinical treatment is typically a long and winding one, composed of various insights laid down by diverse experts at various points in time, and cancer immunotherapy’s path is certainly no exception.
We wish to highlight the impact of CRI scientists across the entire spectrum, from basic discoveries about immune cells and how they interact with cancer, to clinical efforts to maximize immunotherapy’s benefits for patients. We were careful to balance early discoveries that helped establish the field with more recent breakthroughs that demonstrate our sustained and current impact. Additionally, we won’t be sharing these scientific morsels entirely in chronological order; we’ll be grouping them somewhat thematically. Then, each week on our blog we’ll show how the recently featured facts fit with each other as well as into the bigger picture.
Along the way, we’ll explore three types of T cells as well as dendritic cells, natural killer cells, and macrophages. We’ll explore antibodies, vaccines, and other cutting-edge immunotherapies being evaluated in clinical trials as well as advances in biomarkers that are helping doctors improve their diagnostic- and treatment-related decisions. We’ll even delve into the dynamic nature of the relationship between cancer and the immune system, and how certain bacteria can influence their interactions in both good and bad ways.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the “30 Days of CRI Impact,” which begins June 1, and for more information on our entire roster of #CIM18 events and content.