Advances: New Immunotherapy Treatments for Breast Cancer in 2017

Peter P. Lee, M.D., the Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Professor in Cancer Immunotherapeutics at City of Hope, has for two decades been interested in treating cancer by stimulating or enhancing a person’s own immune system. This approach, called immunotherapy, has gained much attention in recent years and Lee is a leader in the field. His outlook for 2017 is full of promise for a more personalized approach to breast cancer treatment.

“It’s very exciting that we’ve seen a dramatic response for immunology in patients with cancers like melanoma, lymphoma, bladder cancer and others,” said Lee, who is chair of the Department of Immuno-Oncology, co-leader of the Cancer Immunotherapeutics Program and a professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. “But breast cancer has lagged behind a bit and so we’re trying to understand why it’s different and how to make immunotherapy more effective for breast cancer  patients.”

Fortunately, he said, there have been advances in understanding the relationship between the immune system and breast cancer and the difference between subtypes and their response to immunotherapy.
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