Cancer Immunotherapy

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Science  20 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6165, pp. 1432-1433
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6165.1432


Science's editors have chosen cancer immunotherapy as Breakthrough of the Year for 2013, a strategy that harnesses the body's immune system to combat tumors. It's an attractive idea, and researchers have struggled for decades to make it work. Now, many oncologists say those efforts are paying off, as two different techniques show signs of helping some patients. One involves antibodies that release a brake on T cells, giving them the power to tackle tumors. Another involves genetically modifying an individual's T cells outside the body to make them better able to target cancer, and then reinfusing them so they can do just that. Experts stress that these techniques have been tested in only small trials, and they don't always work. But the results have raised hope that immunotherapy may give doctors new options for treatment in the future.

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