Recent advancements in cancer immunotherapeutics
Cancer affects a wide range of organs and tissues within the body and epidemiologically is forecasted to affect almost half of the world's population. As an industry, cancer therapeutics represent a booming field. Standard treatment options, however, still heavily rely upon chemotherapeutics developed over fifty years ago. The past decade has seen a huge proliferation of different types of cancer drugs. Recently, an entirely new class of drugs has been unveiled and holds promising results of preventing further relapse incidents. Immunotherapeutics come in many varieties and currently several strategies are under intense investigation. Because these drugs harness the body's own immune system to specifically attack tumor cells, these drugs hold an advantage to current therapeutic options in that they induce notably less severe side effects, facilitating patients' abilities to maintain quality of life. In addition, these drugs potentially hold the promise to cure certain types of cancer, as the body's memory T cells will prevent relapse of the same tumor type. This review will focus on dendritic cell-based therapies, which attempt to program these antigen-presenting cell types to prime T cell responses, checkpoint blockade drugs that inhibit immunosuppression, and neoadjuvants that aim to render the surrounding tumor microenvironment more susceptible for immune attack. In addition, some documented and projected downsides to immunotherapeutics will be discussed, as well as the need to combine multiple modalities in order to create an effective and personalized treatment regimen for cancer patients.