Immune cells work together to enable successful cancer therapy

Morgan McSweeney A group of researchers from the University of California – San Francisco recently found that the presence of a certain group of immune cells in tumors (“stimulatory dendritic cells,” or SDCs) can predict better cancer outcomes, at least in melanoma patients. For example, in patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors (drugs that work by…

Stumbling before the beast: Not all cancer clinical trials end in drug approval

Manisit Das Since the beginning of OncoBites, we’ve talked a lot about immunotherapy: using our own immune cells to destroy the cancer cells? We can’t get enough of it! In one post, we highlighted a revolutionary approach recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) using genetically modified immune cells to fight cancer,…

Bone found to abet Lung Cancer

Natasha Vinod Rudolph Virchow was one of the first physicians to study diseases from the standpoint of cells. He applied his cell theory “Omnis cellula e cellula” (“every cell originates from another cell”) to the study of cancer and reasoned that cancer results from the failure of the regulatory mechanism of the cells to control…

Cancer: a many headed beast

Emily B. Harrison, Ph.D. Every year more than one million women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Tumors are most often discovered through screening techniques like self-checks, breast exams, or mammograms. Immediately, plans are made to extract the tumor either by removing a small area around the tumor, a lumpectomy, or the entire breast in a…

The Immune Landscape of Cancer

Morgan McSweeney  Cancer is not a single disease. It is a broad term that describes a number of related conditions in which cells’ growth has begun to bypass the usual checks and balances. To study the spectrum of cancers, the National Institutes of Health have established The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a collaborative project aimed…

Immunotherapy in Pancreatic Cancer: Does Bacteria hold the answer?

Manisit Das Your gut is crawling with bacteria, despite your devoted hygiene practices. Disgusting for your sophisticated self, isn’t it? Surprising as it is, over the course of evolution our bodies tolerated the microbial communities in our body, even cherished them. Hundreds of thousands of bacteria and other microorganisms call us home and play a…

Cancer Vaccines: Educating Your Immune System Since the 1800s

Sara Musetti Historians love to say that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. In science, failing to remember and understand our history means that we may need to make the same discoveries again and again. This appears to be the case for cancer immunotherapy, a new branch of research…

We’ve got a new FDA Approved Immunotherapy: How does it work?

Elizabeth Wayne, PhD Everything you need to fight cancer is inside of you. Well sort of. This is the inspirational way that I like to think of cancer immunotherapy. It’s using your own immune cells to fight cancer. We do this by trying to get immune cells to recognize cancer as a foreign pathogen, thereby…