Immunotherapy - a game changer in the fight against cancer?
Amelia Watkins, Consultant for Life Sciences in Penna Executive Search, on the exciting new treatments revolutionising the ongoing fight against cancer.
Developments in cancer immunotherapy, also commonly known as immuno-oncology, are creating exciting new treatments that utilise the body’s immune system to prevent, control, target and ultimately remove cancer cells. This approach can help to educate the immune system to attack specific types of cancer cells and help provide the body with the ability to enhance its immune response. These innovative treatments are creating promising results in many different forms of cancer, particularly Melanoma.
The impact of immunotherapy:
While other treatment options – from targeted therapy to chemotherapy – still and will continue to play an important role in cancer research, immunotherapy expands the options and possibilities for patients. These include emerging monoclonal antibodies and tumour agnostic therapies to T cell therapies which help a patient’s immune system recognise and target cancerous cells.
As research continues, one of the challenges will be bringing immunotherapy and other cancer therapies together, to provide potential opportunities for personalised approaches for patients, tailoring and combining treatments based on their genetics and their specific disease.
The potential benefits of this personalised approach involving combined therapies could arguably lead to treatment that is more effective, less toxic and potentially less expensive in the long run, because it could eliminate things that are not likely to be effective in a particular patient. It could therefore be a potential game changer for many cancer patients particularly if cost reductions result in greater accessibility to these therapies.
Hope on the horizon:
2019 promises to be a big year for cancer immunotherapy, with several approvals of checkpoint immunotherapies for new cancer types as well as combination strategies in two cancer types being approved. There is also great promise being shown in clinical trials for immunotherapy on hard-to-treat cancers.
Critical to success now and in in future years will be effective collaborations between not for profit, academic, and biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry partners, all of whom are important in ensuring that new and improved treatments are discovered and brought into clinical practice for the benefit of patients.
Here at Penna we work with across the eco system, with research institutes, companies and universities to help continue and develop the fight against cancer by finding the scientific and clinical talent needed to deliver success.
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