The insight that the immune system is capable of eliminating malignant cells has stimulated the development of a variety of immunotherapeutic approaches.
During the last decades, this has resulted in clinically proven treatments for many cancers. Particularly successful and revolutionary was the more recent introduction of checkpoint inhibitors which effectively restore the function of silenced T-cells.
In some of the patients they induce a complete and durable response with the hope of permanent cure. Nevertheless, checkpoint inhibitors show activity only in a sub-fraction of patients and due to their underlying mechanism they increase the risk of autoimmunity.
There is, therefore, still the need for effective treatments with much broader activity and high tumor specificity.
T-cells attacking cancer cell - © Meletios Verras / Shutterstock.com