Cancer immunotherapies rally a patient’s immune cells to attack tumor cells and are a source of great hope in cancer care. Several of them are specifically designed to supercharge T cells, which use receptors on their surface to scan anything they encounter to determine whether it is friend or foe. These game-changing treatments have brought cancer patients back from the brink and vanquished tumors resistant to conventional therapies. Despite being hailed as miracle cures, immune-based cancer therapies actually only benefit a minority of cancer patients. The problem is that tumors have developed a suite of molecular tools to thwart the ability of T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells. This challenge has prompted our scientists to look to different divisions of the immune system to overcome tumor cell defenses.
The Center for Cancer Immunotherapy aims to harness and amplify the cancer-fighting potential of a wide variety of immune cells to dramatically increase the number of cancer patients who benefit from cancer immunotherapy.