Immune Therapy harnesses the power of the immune system, your body’s natural defense system. Some, such as vaccines and CAR-T and other modified T-cell therapies described by Rapoport, work by super charging different components of the immune system. Others, like the antibodies described by Dr. Mikhael, flag proteins on the surface of cancer cells that trigger the immune system to attack and destroy them. Not only do these medicines have the potential to be effective regardless of the type of previous treatments patients have received, but they come without many of the long-term side effects associated with current treatments.
The MMRF has been at the vanguard in supporting research into Immune Therapy—research that has laid the groundwork for the new wave of experimental and recently-approved treatments. We are now very quickly moving several Immune Therapies through our research model. First, we use our tissue bank to answer important questions about the disease’s biology, like which markers may be targets for new antibodies. Next, we rapidly test those antibodies in the lab. Then, we usher the most promising approaches into intelligent trials within our collaborative clinical network where patients can immediately benefit.
We are incredibly excited about this new class of drugs, but we know there will be no “silver bullet” for myeloma. That’s why we are also examining how Immune Therapy can work in combination with targeted therapies that take direct aim at the genetic mutations underlying a cancer’s growth. We believe this dual-fronts approach is the only way to expand personalized cancer care and begin to measure improved outcomes not by months or even years, but by decades.