Cancer Research Institute Media Room



Cancer Research Institute Hosts 10th Annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month™ Celebrating Lifesaving Discovery in Immuno-Oncology

  • Awareness and educational program offerings for cancer patients and caregivers about the latest advances in cancer immunotherapy shared over 30 days in June
  • “I’M the Answer to Cancer” immunotherapy patient story videos feature firsthand experiences with cancer immunotherapy and clinical trials
  • “Top 10 Things Patients Need to Know About Immunotherapy” webinar on June 21 features perspectives from the head of a major U.S. cancer treatment center and a cancer patient advocate
  • Global social media awareness campaign inviting community and partner participation throughout the month and during #Immune2Cancer Day on June 10
  • Walk/Run/Move Challenge fundraising event to benefit cancer immunotherapy research

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving more lives by fueling the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all types of cancer, announced today a variety of awareness, education, and fundraising offerings it has organized taking place during Cancer Immunotherapy Month™ in June. This year marks the tenth since CRI established Cancer Immunotherapy Month following the FDA’s watershed approval in 2011 of the first checkpoint inhibitor to treat cancer. In celebration of the significant promise immunotherapy holds for one day treating all cancers successfully, CRI invites its global community of patients, caregivers, scientists, supporters, and partners to reflect on the past decade of innovation in immuno-oncology and look ahead to the bright future made possible with lifesaving scientific research.

“The Cancer Research Institute established Cancer Immunotherapy Month ten years ago to draw the public’s attention to what was then an entirely new way to treat cancer and about which little was known outside of universities and medical research hospitals,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute. “Since then, the field of immuno-oncology has come very far, with advances being made every day in treating many different types of cancer, and it is only a matter of time until all patients can benefit from cancer immunotherapy.”

Cancer immunotherapy research has reached an inflection point. New discoveries are unveiled with increasing frequency and innovative technologies promise to accelerate new treatments for all patients. Since the 2011 FDA approval of ipilimumab (Yervoy®) to treat metastatic melanoma, immunotherapy has become part of the standard of care for more than twenty types of cancer, and that number is growing. In 2022 alone so far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued seven immunotherapy-related approvals including those for CAR-T cell therapy treatments for patients with large B cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma, a new LAG-3 checkpoint inhibitor—the first targeting a pathway other than PD1/L1 or CTLA-4—to treat melanoma, and a companion diagnostic to determine whether certain patients are likely to respond to treatment with immunotherapy.

“As immunotherapy becomes a treatment option for more and more patients, the Cancer Research Institute aims to ensure that patients and caregivers are well informed about immunotherapy and are ready to have conversations about it with their healthcare team,” O’Donnell-Tormey added.

Cancer Immunotherapy Month also emphasizes the lifesaving power of cancer research and the untapped potential immunotherapy yet holds for treating patients.

“Immunotherapy does not work for all people or in every situation – currently only about 20 percent of patients overall benefit – but the good news is that, with more investment in research on the immune system and cancer, immunotherapy will benefit more cancer patients and potentially save more lives moving forward,” O’Donnell-Tormey said.

Highlights of the 10th Cancer Immunotherapy Month include:

  • I’M the Answer to Cancer™ Patient Stories
    Video stories, one per week, from four cancer patients treated with immunotherapy sharing their experiences with cancer, learning about immunotherapy, receiving treatment, and life today. Featured patients are Sharon Belvin (melanoma), Barry Nelson (lung cancer), Sonia Su (lymphoma), and Matilde Quintana (lung cancer). Read more patient stories here.
  • Cancer Immunotherapy and You™ Webinar
    On Tuesday, June 21, CRI will host the latest live installment in its Cancer Immunotherapy and You™ webinar series, titled “Top 10 Things Patients Need to Know About Immunotherapy.” This webinar for patients and caregivers features Dr. Laurie Glimcher, president and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and lung cancer survivor Sunshine Pegues, who will discuss today’s cancer patient experience and how it is being transformed thanks to immunotherapy. Audience Q&A follows. Learn more and register here.
  • #Immune2Cancer Global Social Media Awareness Campaign
    CRI invites the worldwide community of patients, caregivers, scientists, supporters, partners, and others to join us on social media with selfies and words of hope and encouragement toward creating a future immune to cancer. Throughout the month CRI will prompt the public to share why immunotherapy inspires them, and on June 10 all are invited to join in #Immune2Cancer Day. Learn more and join in here.
  • Walk/Run/Move Challenge
    CRI’s Walk/Run/Move Challenge asks participants in this fundraiser for cancer immunotherapy research to commit to 30 minutes of physical activity each day in June, such as walking a dog, jogging, or anything that gets the body moving and the heart pumping. Find more information and download the CRI fundraising toolkit here.

The month also includes a Twitter takeover on June 16 with a world-leading immunologist, CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Dr. Amanda Lund of NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. Emily Whitehead, a leukemia survivor and immunotherapy advocate who beat her cancer ten years ago at just seven years of age to become the first pediatric patient in the world to receive CAR T cell immunotherapy, will share a day in her life during an Instagram takeover on June 23. Her inspiring story will be featured in “Of Medicine and Miracles” during the TriBeCa Film Festival in June, including an at-home viewing on June 14. Tickets are available at The CRI blog will also feature coverage of immunotherapy news from the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day on June 5.

The Cancer Research Institute would like to thank the following generous sponsors and friends for their support of the 10th annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month and its component programs:

Cancer Immunotherapy Month
Gold: Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., Inc.
Silver: AstraZeneca, GSK
Bronze: AbbVie, Arthrex, Eli Lilly & Company, Hexcel, Nektar, Regeneron, Sanofi
Friends: Alkermes, BioCanRx, Caresfield, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Emily Whitehead Foundation, Novartis, Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Univision Communications Inc.

I’M the Answer to Cancer™ Patient Stories
Bristol Myers Squibb
Merck & Co., Inc.

Cancer Immunotherapy and You™ Webinars
Gold: Bristol Myers Squibb
Bronze: Alkermes, BioCanRx, Eli Lilly and Company

Walk/Run/Move Cancer Immunotherapy Month Challenge
Silver Sponsors: Merck & Co., Inc.
Bronze Sponsors: Alkermes, BioCanRx, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company

Media Contact:
Brian M. Brewer, +1-212-688-7515 x242, [email protected]

About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is a top-rated U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to saving more lives by fueling the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel laureates and 27 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $474 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to

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