Significant strides have been made in the field of immunotherapy — using the immune system to attack cancer cells — and it has become a game-changing treatment option for many types of cancer. Many experts view it as one of the most promising new cancer treatments available. Here are some examples of immunotherapy projects taking place throughout the province thanks to the generosity of Alberta Cancer Foundation donors.
Melanoma and Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy clinical trials at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton have changed treatment for late-stage melanoma patients. Since the study began in 2014, survival rates have increased from 20 to 60 per cent.
Sarcoma and Immunotherapy
A group of Calgary researchers is working to develop new and more effective therapies for patients with sarcoma — cancer of the connective tissues — using immunotherapy. The long-term goal is to create clinical trials for sarcoma patients who currently have few therapies available.
A team of researchers in Alberta is creating a new orally available form of immunotherapy that will treat cancer accurately, with fewer side-effects for patients. Researchers are continuing to test and tweak the drug to ensure it is safe for patients and have added an international expert in medicinal chemistry to help navigate this phase of the process. This step will bring the research team closer to producing an effective drug that could transform the way we treat patients.
Car-T Cell Therapy
Car-T cell therapy is personalized medicine whereby a patient’s “T-cells” are removed, modified in the lab to attack malignant cells, and then returned to the body, where they destroy cancer cells. An Edmonton clinical trial is seeking to develop a cost-effective way to manufacture Car-T cells.
With your support, the Alberta Cancer Foundation has invested more than $100 million in cancer research in the past five years.