The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to advancing immunotherapy to treat, control, and cure all cancers. Immunotherapy is the most promising cancer treatment of our time. Immunotherapy is already saving lives, and while responses vary from patient to patient, with further research, we can bring more effective treatments to more cancer patients. Cancer immunotherapy, also known as immuno-oncology, is a form of cancer treatment that uses the power of the body’s own immune system to prevent, target, control, and eliminate cancer. Immunotherapy can:
- Educate the immune system to recognize and attack specific cancer cells
- Boost immune cells to help them eliminate cancer
- Provide the body with additional components to enhance the immune response
Cancer immunotherapy comes in a variety of forms, including targeted antibodies, cancer vaccines, adoptive cell transfer, tumor-infecting viruses, checkpoint inhibitors, cytokines, and adjuvants. Immunotherapies are a form of biotherapy (also called biologic therapy or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy) because they use materials from living organisms to fight disease. Some immunotherapy treatments use genetic engineering to enhance immune cells’ cancer-fighting capabilities and may be referred to as gene therapies. Many immunotherapy treatments for preventing, managing, or treating different cancers can also be used in combination with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted therapies to improve their effectiveness.