June is Cancer Immunotherapy MonthTM, an initiative to call attention to cancer immunotherapy, a specialized field focused on harnessing the power of the immune system to cure cancer.
As the body’s natural defense system, the immune system hunts down and destroys harmful invaders, such as bacteria, viruses and even cancer cells. But cancers can be masters of disguise, evading detection and outsmarting the immune system.
Scientists and doctors at Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon, are exploring new ways to activate the immune system and rev up its power to recognize cancer cells and attack them more effectively.
Watch an informational video to learn how we are using immunotherapy to attack and eliminate cancers:
Immunotherapy comes in many forms
Since 1993, we have worked tirelessly to develop new treatments in several key areas including:
- Adoptive cellular therapy: In this promising new therapy, T-cells are removed from your body, multiplied in a lab and returned to you to boost the immune system’s cancer-fighting power. Providence is one of the few highly specialized centers offering the latest cellular therapies, including CAR T-cell therapy.
- Genome-targeted immunotherapy: This field, also known as precision oncology, combines genomics with immunology to train the immune system to recognize mutations specific to your tumor.
- High-dose interleukin 2 (IL-2): Providence is one of the top five programs in the country offering this FDA-approved immunotherapy for people with metastatic melanoma and metastatic kidney cancer.
- Checkpoint immunotherapies: We led the international trial of ipilimumab, the first immunotherapy drug approved for patients with cancer. Its approval by the FDA was a watershed moment for the oncology community and ushered in the era of checkpoint immunotherapies.
- Combination therapies: Research and clinical trials at Providence suggest that combining immunotherapy with traditional radiation or chemotherapy could maximize the effectiveness.
Global partners in immunotherapy
Under the leadership of Dr. Walter Urba, our team has forged breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy and formed global partnerships with leading medical, research and industry institutions.
We are a founding member of the Bristol-Myers Squibb International Immuno-Oncology Network and one of 30 centers included in the NCI-supported Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network. And through the Pacific Cancer Research Consortium, we are a proud member of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program.
We stand together with Cancer Research Institute, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and other organizations around the world raising awareness for the life-saving power of immunotherapy.
We invite you to join us in our mission to finish cancer.