Cancer treatment increasingly consists of a combination of therapies, with immunotherapy or immuno-oncology (IO) as a key component of treatment. IO therapy has shown its efficacy in cancer treatment, particularly when combined with other treatments targeting the drivers of tumour growth. Immunotherapy is used in the treatment of many types of cancer.
In IO therapy, the patient is given antibodies or cells, for example, that destroy cancer cells. The challenge is the diverse and unique nature of cancer tumours: the microenvironment of a cancer cell can be very different between two patients with the same type of cancer. Immuno-oncology research aims to understand the complex mechanisms of immune defence and the cancer cell.
The main targets of immuno-oncology research are the:
- Different cell types of the immune system and to understand how they function
- Investigate the gene expression profile of the immune cells
With growing understanding, the aim is to discover new target molecules and antibodies that help the immune system to recognise and destroy the cancer cell.