The FDA recently okayed the first therapeutic cancer vaccine, and other drugs that enlist the immune system against tumors are under study
Conventional treatments for cancer—surgery, chemotherapy and radiation—have increased survival rates since the 1970s, but many survivors still do not achieve a normal life span. Researchers believe the results would be better if they could recruit a new ally against malignancy: the body’s own immune system. Over the past decade several attempts to boost the immune response artificially—through vaccination or other drug development—have failed.
But the tide seems to be changing. A cancer vaccine for treating prostate cancer has been approved, and a new generation of therapeutic cancer vaccines is now being tested.
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