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Immunotherapy: The Next Frontier in Cancer Treatment

Publication: AARP The Magazine

The human immune system is incredibly effective at fighting disease. Always on patrol, the immune system stands ready to launch a counter-attack on any infection and disease that threatens health. Yet, some diseases - like cancer - go undetected when misbehaving cells effectively "hide" from the body's immune system and thwart its natural response.

Researchers are unlocking the cellular secrets behind cancer to create promising discoveries in immunotherapy. Considered to be the next frontier in cancer treatment, immunotherapy drugs leverage the human body's built-in, disease-fighting systems, allowing it to pack a super punch against foreign invaders. The growth of cancer cells is slowed or stopped entirely and the cancer cannot spread as a result.

A Leader in Immunotherapy

Texas Oncology's pioneering approach to community-based cancer care means that patients across Texas have access to the newest approved immunotherapy drugs, as well as the opportunity to participate in research and clinical trials that will lead to more advancements in this game changing treatment.

In fact, Texas Oncology has treated more patients with immunotherapy than any other oncology team in the country. Through its research program, Texas Oncology physicians and patients have played a key role in the development of FDA-approved immunotherapy drugs nivomulab and ipilimumab.

Texas Oncology also participated in a study of CAR-T cell therapy, a remarkable new form of immunotherapy that has been approved by ODAC, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee for the FDA, for leukemia treatment in children and young adults. In CAR-T therapy, T-cells from a patient's blood are removed, genetically reprogrammed to grow cancer-fighting proteins, and then infused back into the patient - arming the patient's own immune system to attack cancer. Recognizing the significant new hope that this innovation offers, Texas Oncology created a working group to plan for making CAR-T cell therapy available to patients as quickly as possible, including adults, when the FDA completes approval.

Immunotherapy is perhaps today's most exciting area of cancer research. This kind of leading edge treatment, delivered through the power of a collaborative network of more than 420 physicians, is an example of how Texas Oncology provides high quality cancer care, without compromise, to patients across the state.