Cancer versus immunological diversity

©Jakedan/ Dreamstime.com/ License: Royalty Free

©Jakedan/ Dreamstime.com/ License: Royalty Free

We are seeing a renaissance of optimism about immunotherapy for cancer – after many years of disappointment. Patients with advanced and clinically intransigent lung cancers and melanomas, treated in early clinical trials with antibodies to immune checkpoint inhibitors PD-1 and CTLA-4, have been surviving longer than would previously have been expected 1,2. And other studies have demonstrated that patients whose tumours were infiltrated with lymphocytes show better outcomes 3.

Putting these observations together, the inference is that some tumours present neoantigens that are recognised by the immune system and that this reactivity can be boosted by releasing the checkpoint brakes on the immune system.

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