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Overview

For decades, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have been the three staple treatments against cancer. But clinical trials over the past five years have shown that harnessing the body’s immune response—which evolved to fend off harmful bacteria and viruses, among other things—presents a new treatment alternative. In fact, for some types of cancer, clinical trials of immunotherapy have reported complete remission in 90 percent of cases. The April issue of Scientific American highlights these emerging therapies, but we have covered the growing promise of immunotherapy for quite a while. In this special digital package, we have pulled together other recent Scientific American articles about different types of immunotherapy that tell you even more about this exciting next generation of cancer treatment.

Contents

The Cancer Defense

Against cancer, new enhancements to the body's own immune system are looking like lifesavers

By Karen Weintraub on April 1, 2016

 

What Gene Therapy Needs Now: A Good Off Switch

Researchers are developing molecular switches that can inactivate transplanted genes, paving the way for safer gene therapies. First up—immunotherapies for cancer

By Jim Kozubek on January 1, 2016

 

Can Viruses Treat Cancer?

For some cancer patients, viruses engineered to zero in on tumor cells work like a wonder drug. The task now is to build on this success

By Douglas J. Mahoney, David F. Stojdl, Gordon Laird on November 1, 2014

 

New Drugs Free the Immune System to Fight Cancer

By releasing the brakes that tumor cells place on the immune system, researchers are developing a new generation of more powerful treatments against malignancy

By Jedd D. Wolchok on May 1, 2014

 

A New Ally against Cancer: Vaccines

The FDA recently okayed the first therapeutic cancer vaccine, and other drugs that enlist the immune system against tumors are under study

By Eric von Hofe on October 1, 2011