Here Are Some Ways Cancer Can Thwart the New Immunotherapy Drugs


“A new type of cancer drug designed to unleash the immune system is revolutionizing treatment for advanced melanoma, lung cancer and other malignancies. But some patients who initially respond to the therapy relapse, and researchers are anxious to figure out how and why the delayed resistance occurs.

” ‘Does the immune system stop working, or does the cancer change so that it’s no longer responding to the immune system?’ said Antoni Ribas, director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program at the University of California at Los Angeles.

“New research by Ribas and others, published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, provides some answers. The study, which outlines key mechanisms in how melanoma becomes resistant to immunotherapy, found that genetic changes in tumors allowed them to avoid recognition by the immune system or become less sensitive to its attacks.”

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