Immunotherapy as a Cancer Treatment- Update 3

After a lot of work and long days of research I have finally completed my Freshman Monroe Summer Research Project. While it was a long process, it was very interesting to research all the different types of immunotherapy and learn about the different clinical trial successes and failures. Throughout my research I have found that in the past few years the amount of research and clinical trials in immunotherapy has increased dramatically as scientists try and find a treatment or cure for cancer. Three major types of immunotherapy which have all had varying levels of success are monoclonal antibodies, immune checkpoint inhibitors, and cancer vaccines.

Monoclonal antibodies have often resulted in prolonged survival with minimal side effects, however, these results are not always long-lasting, and the survival benefit is not consistent in all clinical trials. Tecemotide is one monoclonal antibody which has shown some successes in clinical testing, especially when combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy. Cetuximab is another monoclonal antibody which has led to survival benefits. While both drugs have had multiple successes, these results are not durable.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown varying successes in treating different types of cancer, but often lead to immune-related adverse events. While these immune-related adverse events are usually mild, they can be very severe. Additionally, these checkpoint inhibitors do not have high response rates in patients.

While cancer vaccines do evoke an immune system response, they do not result in durable responses. Additionally, there are two main issues in developing cancer vaccines: low antigency and heterogeneity. One other issue is that while there are many different cancer vaccines being developed, very few have reached phase III clinical trials.

Finally, while immunotherapy can have many benefits, not all patients are eligible to receive immunotherapy. Patients who have had organ transplants or who have had liver damage are not eligible for immunotherapy. Additionally, patients who have autoimmune diseases are often excluded from immunotherapy treatments. While immunotherapy may have many benefits, there is a limited pool of patients who are able to undergo immunotherapy.

While there have been several successes in the clinical trials for immunotherapy, scientists will need to address the potential side effects and other barriers. Additionally, while there have been several successes in testing, none of these treatments create a durable response. More clinical trials and testing will be needed before these types of immunotherapy reach widespread success, but they have displayed promising results.