Immuno-Oncology: the New Frontier of Cancer Treatment

Gavin Sears


Many methods have been developed to fight cancer over the years. Many of these methods inherently contain a multitude of adverse effects that can massively impact patient outcomes post treatment. In addition to these factors, many of these treatments have plateaued in effectiveness in recent years, necessitating the construction of new treatments. Of these emerging treatment options, one particular treatment has stood above the rest in its potential applications: immuno-oncology. This field is based on the concept of harnessing the bodies natural immune system to combat cancer formation and growths in the body while avoiding the dangers of traditional cancer therapies cush as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Recent studies have shown the massive effects immunotherapy treatments can confer on tumors and the immune system. Immune checkpoint inhibitors act as potent new drugs that enhance the bodies cytotoxic T cells efficacy in invading and attacking the tumor micro environment. Drugs such as polyphyllin VII can prime the macrophages of the innate immune system to indirectly bolster anti-tumor defenses. Furthermore, there have been strides made to suppress pro-tumor immune components such as IL-20 to reduce or halt the growth of tumors that rely on them in organs like the pancreas. While these immune modulations are not free from consequences of their own, such as the potentially dangerous immune related adverse events they trigger, the field of immuno-oncology still stands as a bright hope for the future of oncology treatment.

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