Modern medicine has made dramatic advancements in the past couple of decades, especially how to target therapy to specific factors. Despite this progress, cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the industrial world.
In 2011, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for research discoveries that furthered the understanding of the immune system and immunotherapy for treating cancer. The concept of using the patient’s own immune system to destroy tumours has interested researchers for decades. The immune system is naturally able to destroy cancer cells, but its ability to do so is suppressed locally by cells protecting the tumour. Breaking this local tolerance and stimulating tumor specific T-cells is a key to achieving success in immunotherapy of cancer. Combinations of complimentary immunotheraphy treatments, in particular, are expected to be an integral part of future cancer treatment delivering significant clinical benefit.