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MASCC 2016 | History of cancer immunotherapy

Michael Brown, MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia discusses the history of cancer immunotherapy. Historically speaking, Dr Brown mentions there being a theory that the immune system may have some involvement in controlling cancer. Attempts have been made to stimulate the immune system against cancer, mainly to activate the innate immune system, using agents like interferon alpha or BCG. However, cancer has mechanisms to switch off the immune system. Interventions using anti-CTLA-4 antibodies, like ipilimumab, recognised that new specificities for cancer-related antigens were being generated by the use of ipilimumab to block the switch off mechanism that cancer can use. In addition, anti-PD-1 antibodies can interrupt tumor’s ability to switch off T-cell activity, which means that T-cells can recognise tumor antigens and potentially fight it. Recorded at the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) and International Society of Ocular Oncology (ISOO) 2016 Annual Meeting on Supportive Care in Cancer held in Adelaide, Australia.

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