Cancer control: immunotherapy offers solution to a cure

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The Economist’s cover story reports that although cancer has become more survivable, the fear remains; “Only Alzheimer’s exerts a similar grip on the imagination”:

  • “From a purely technical perspective, it is reasonable to expect that science will one day turn most cancers into either chronic diseases or curable ones. But cancer is not fought only in the lab. It is also fought in doctors’ surgeries, in schools, in public-health systems and in government departments. The dispatches from these battlefields are much less encouraging.”
  • “The greatest excitement is reserved for immunotherapy, a new approach that has emerged in the past few years. The human immune system is equipped with a set of brakes that cancer cells are able to activate; the first immunotherapy treatment in effect disables the brakes, enabling white blood cells to attack the tumours.”
  • “It is early days, but in a small subset of patients this mechanism has produced long-term remissions that are tantamount to cures.”