Our common defense against disease is our immune system. It does an excellent job to sort out what does not belong in the body and attack it – except for cancer. For 100 years, the causes of the obvious failure were a mystery. Jim Allison [immunotherapy] breakthrough was the insight that the immune system did not ignore cancer. Instead, cancer cracks triggered the immune system. But what happens if you can block these tricks and release the immune system's killer T cells against the disease?
The trick Allisi immunology lab at the University of California, Berkeley, found a protein on the T-cell called CTLA-4. When stimulated, CTLA-4 acted as an immune response switch. These brakes, as he called checkpoints, kept the cell deaths out of control and scrapped healthy body cells. Cancer took advantage of these brakes to survive and thrive. In 1994, the lab developed an antibody that blocked CTLA-4.
What they found so far would win Nobel. It would also fly in the face of what every practicing oncologist had learned about cancer and how to fight it.
Seven years after the approval of [the] The first checkpoint inhibitor is that 940 "new" cancer immunotherapeutic drugs are tested in the clinic by more than half a million cancer patients in more than 3000 clinical trials with over 1000 more in the preclinical phase.
Read full original item: A cure for cancer: how to kill a killer