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  • What Is Immunotherapy
  • Why It Matters
  • How It Works
  • CRI's Impact

Revolutionary Cancer Treatments with Profound Potential

Immunotherapy has the power to become a cure for all cancers—already working to successfully treat some previously incurable cancers.

Immunotherapy Matters, For One and All

Immunotherapy promises to change the lives of all people affected by cancer.
Get to know the unique benefits of cancer immunotherapy below.

What is cancer immunotherapy?

Cancer immunotherapy—treatments that harness and enhance the innate powers of the immune system to fight cancer—represents the most promising new cancer treatment approach since the development of the first chemotherapies in the 1940s.

For more than 60 years, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) has been the pioneer in advancing this new class of treatment.

Learn About CRI's Impact

What types of cancers can immunotherapy treat?

Immunotherapy has potential to treat all cancers

Immunotherapy enables the immune system to recognize, target, and eliminate cancer cells, wherever they are in the body, making it a universal answer to cancer.

Immunotherapy is an effective treatment for patients with certain types of cancer that have been resistant to chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and has also been approved as a first line of treatment in several cancers. It may be given alone or in combination with other cancer treatments.

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Does immunotherapy have any side effects?

Immunotherapy may not cause the same side effects as chemotherapy and radiation and may vary depending on which type is used

  • Cancer immunotherapy is focused on the immune system and is often more targeted than chemotherapy or radiation
  • Both chemotherapy and radiation damage healthy cells, commonly leading to hair loss and nausea/vomiting, side effects that may be less likely with immunotherapy
  • They are usually related to stimulation of the immune system and can range from minor symptoms of inflammation to major conditions similar to autoimmune disorders
How long does immunotherapy last?

Cancer immunotherapy offers the possibility for long-term control of cancer

  • Immunotherapy can “train” the immune system to remember cancer cells. This “immunomemory” may result in longer-lasting and potentially permanent protection against cancer recurrence.

  • Clinical studies on long-term overall survival have shown that the beneficial responses to cancer immunotherapy treatment are durable—that is, they can be maintained even after treatment is completed.

Boosting the Body's Powerful Immune System

Immunotherapy treatment harnesses the body's natural strength to fight cancer—
empowering the immune system to conquer more types of cancer and save more lives.

proteins that bind to antigens on harmful invaders in the body (e.g., germs and viruses). Also mark cells for attack and destruction by other immune cells
B Cells
release antibodies to defend against harmful invaders in the body. Each is programmed to make one specific antibody (e.g., common cold virus)
CD8+ Killer T Cells
destroys thousands of virus-infected cells each day. CD8+ killer T cells even seek out and destroy cancer cells
messenger molecules that help immune cells communicate with each other to coordinate the right immune response
Dendritic Cells
digest foreign and cancerous cells and present their proteins to immune cells that destroy them
CD4+ Helper T Cells
send "help" signals to the other immune cells (i.e., CD8+ killer T cells) to make them more efficient at destroying harmful invaders. Also maintain lines of communication with B cells
Regulatory T Cells
provide the checks and balances to ensure that the immune system does not overreact
known as the "big eaters" of the immune system for their ability to engulf and destroy bacteria and other harmful. They also present antigens to other cells of the immune system

See How Your Immune System Works

Immunotherapy Matters, For One and All

As a science-first organization dedicated to supporting cancer immunotherapy research, we're funding a future that fights back against cancer—all with your help.

Support our mission to cure ALL cancers, for good.

Make a Donation

Join Team CRI by supporting our many dedicated fundraisers.

Support the Cause
Find an immunotherapy clinical trial
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Create a profile and fill out a questionnaire to identify immunotherapy clinical trials for which you may be eligible.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.