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The Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

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About Cancer Immunotherapy

Cancer immunotherapy is among the most promising areas of cancer research to emerge in decades. The cutting-edge treatment approach has been approved by the FDA to treat a wide range of cancers — even advanced forms — without the debilitating side effects that typically accompany chemo, radiation and surgery.

Understanding Immunotherapy

Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the co-director of the Cancer Immunology Program at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center explains what is immunotherapy and how it's changing cure rates for cancer patients.

What Is Immunotherapy?

  • Immunotherapy is a method of harnessing the body’s natural ability to fight cancer in the same way it fights off foreign invaders, like viruses and bacterial infections — using the immune system.
  • The immune system sometimes has difficulty fighting cancer, either because it doesn’t recognize cancer cells as “foreign,” or there isn’t a strong enough immune presence to overtake the rapid growth and spread of cancer cells.
  • Researchers at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere are developing drugs and vaccines that trigger the immune system’s natural defenses to kick in and kill cancer.
  • Anti-PD-1 therapy, which was developed at Johns Hopkins, is one of the most exciting and promising approaches to come out of the field of immunotherapy.

Immunotherapies under Development at the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute: