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Cancer Immunotherapy Discussion

Cancer cells are defined through the acquisition of a new set of biological functions referred to as the “Hallmarks of Cancer”. These transformed cells can then interfere with organ function, and ultimately, host survival. In Week 10 of this course we’ve learned about (a) the mechanisms that tumors use to evade immune responses, and (b) certain types of therapies used to boost the ability of the body’s own immune system to recognize and kill cancerous cells, which are often referred to as cancer or tumor immunotherapies. Your understanding of these topics means that you are now equipped with the terminology and conceptual knowledge to research how certain cancer immunotherapies function to kill cancerous cells and protect the host from the detrimental effects of tumor outgrowth.

For this week’s discussion board, please pick a cancer immunotherapy agent, and present a summary of this immunotherapy that addresses the following questions: 

  1. What is the name of this therapeutic agent, and which types of cancers or tumors is it often used to treat?
  2. What is the mechanism of action of this therapy? Please provide details about the cell types and signaling pathways that are targeted.
  3. What is the route of administration for this drug, and how often does it need to be administered?
  4. Are there any known side effects of using this therapy? Are patients left more susceptible to certain types of autoimmune disorders or infections?
  5. What is the prognosis for patients that are successfully treated with this therapy?

You can pick an immunotherapy that from those listed below:

  1. Nivolumab or pembrolizumab (anti-PD1)
  2. Ipilimumab (anti-CTLA4)
  3. Rituximab (anti-CD20)
  4. Zevalin/Ibritumomab tiuxetan (anti-CD20 conjugated to yttrium-90)
  5. Anti-CD19 CAR T cells (many different types; Yescarta and Kymriah are 2 examples)
  6. Anti-CD19 CAR NK cells (several types; TAK-007 is a specific product in clinical trials)
  7. Provenge/Sipuleucel-T (dendritic cell vaccine)
  8. Herceptin/trastuzumab (anti-HER2)
  9. T-DM1/Trastuzumab emtansine (anti-HER2 conjugated to mertansine)
  10. Imiquimod (TLR7 agonist)
  11. Dynavax/CpG1018 (TLR9 agonist)
  12. Hu5F9-G4 (anti-CD47)
  13. Bemcentinib (TAM receptor inhibitor)


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