Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy: Removing Obstacles to Cancer Treatment
Immune checkpoint blockade therapy has revolutionized treatment for a number of cancers, dramatically prolonging patient survival. Unfortunately, the majority of patients who receive immune checkpoint blockade therapy also experience autoimmune-like side effects.
The frequency and severity of autoimmune-like side effects of immune checkpoint blockade therapy represent a major limiting factor in the use of this therapy, yet the immune response that causes such autoimmune reactions is not sufficiently studied. Furthermore, reliable biomarkers to predict which patient will experience these side effects do not yet exist. Immune checkpoint blockade therapy could be more therapeutically effective if clinicians can better predict, manage and minimize these toxicities.
This collaboration is aimed at enabling therapeutic interventions to direct nonspecifically stimulated immunity away from normal tissues, identifying biomarkers for immune toxicity prediction. This would dramatically improve the therapeutic index of immune checkpoint blockade treatments and quality of life in patients with cancer.
Impact on patient care
Patients with lymphoma or other cancers can be treated and cured with immune checkpoint blockade therapy — but then may develop various forms of autoimmunity, including autoimmune diabetes and inflammatory arthritis. Research coordinated through the Center for Immunology and Immune Therapies aims to remove this obstacle to successful cancer treatment.