by Amanda Conschafter, blog editor
A new campaign is raising public awareness about a different way to fight cancer –immuno-oncology, or I-O therapies. I-O therapies aid patients by enhancing their immune systems’ ability to fight cancer cells. And with extensive research and clinical trials currently underway, this technology could soon offer new options – and new hope – for patients battling melanoma, prostate cancer, leukemia, cervical cancer and other cancers.
I-O therapies specifically enable T-cells, a type of white blood cells, to fulfill their immunologic role of combatting cancer cells. T-cells sometimes struggle to protect a patient’s body because cancer cells can undergo cellular changes to evade the immune system’s attack. I-O therapies work to restore the immune system’s effectiveness.
Promising results from clinical trials have sparked interest and driven significant investment in emerging immuno-oncology therapies. The American Society of Clinical Oncology, at its annual meeting earlier this year, devoted considerable attention to I-O. The European Society for Medical Oncology plans to s its annual meeting this month on I-O as well.
Meanwhile, excitement continues to grow over the prospect of I-O therapies that restore the body’s ability to find and destroy hidden cancer cells. As the public increasingly recognizes, these therapies could signal a watershed movement in treating the diseases that kill more than a half million Americans each year.