Cancer immunotherapy: challenges and clinical applications

Nowadays, cancer immunotherapy has emerged as one of the standard treatment modalities against cancer. It has made great progress in two areas: immune checkpoint inhibitors and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, including anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 mAbs, are applied to eliminate the ‘brakes’ on the immune system that can impede immune cells from attacking cancer cells. In 2018, Tasuku Honjo and James Allison were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their contribution to discovering PD-1 and CTLA-4 as brakes on T cells. To date, five anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 antibodies have been approved by the FDA for the treatments of 11 types of cancers. CAR-T cell therapy has been a great success in treating patients with hematological malignancies. Overall, cancer immunotherapy has achieved encouraging results in the clinic. Therefore, we hope that this editorial can stimulate readers’ interest in cancer immunotherapy and promote future researches in this field.( By An-Liang Xia and Xiao-Jie Lu, https://jmg.bmj.com/content/early/2018/11/21/jmedgenet-2018-105852 )

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