Neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy: One step closer to the promise of personalized medicine
The human immune system is the latest conscript in the war on cancer. One part of this immuno-oncology (IO) revolution has already proven its worth: checkpoint inhibitors that work by “revving” up the patient’s immune system, making it more willing to attack tumor cells. In some patients, results have been remarkable. For others, the response has been weaker, possibly hindered by a lack of cancer-specific “signposts” which mark the tumor for destruction. Neoantigens—new proteins generated by dividing tumor cells—may be these better oncological signposts, unlocking the power of immune therapies in a larger number of patients, for longer periods of time. Well aware of this breathtaking potential, scientists, patient groups, and the industry charge ahead, driving a groundswell of emerging technologies that harness a neoantigen approach.
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