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Arch Hellen Med, 32(4), July-August 2015, 461-466


Cancer immunotherapy: A different approach to the treatment of neoplastic disease

M. Kiakou, M. Tolia, N. Tsoukalas
Department of Medical Oncology, 401 General Military Hospital, Athens, Greece

Tumors occur when new cancer cells manage to escape from the surveillance of the immune system. Because of this, in recent years interest has been oriented towards immunotherapy, the objective of which is to strengthen and focus the immune response against the tumor, exploiting the unique properties of the immune system, namely, memory, potency and specificity that no drug is yet able to substitute. Major developments in the field of cancer immunology have already provided the knowledge and techniques required to develop novel immunotherapeutic approaches, specifically active, passive and adoptive immunotherapy. Although induction of the anti-tumor response through vaccination (active immunotherapy) would appear to be theoretically logical and expected to be successful, the application of tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies has demonstrated clearer evidence of objective clinical responses in patients who received them. Recently a new immunotherapeutic cancer approach has been developed, called chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR) therapy. This article summarizes the most promising approaches to cancer immunotherapy currently being applied and studied. The gates for the transition to the era of immunotherapy have already been opened, as recent clinical successes signal the beginning of the evolution of cancer immunotherapy from the experimental phase to established therapy.

Key words: Cancer, Immunotherapy, Monoclonal antibodies, Neoplastic disease, Vaccines.

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