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Cancer Research Institute video: Redefining "Cure"

Cancer Research Institute video: Redefining "Cure"

Redefining Cure: How Science Is Reshaping Our Perception of Cancer and How to Treat It

Many cancer charities today say they're working toward finding the cure for cancer. But what exactly does that mean? A treatment that eliminates cancer completely and permanently would be ideal. But is it realistic?

Recent scientific discoveries are challenging traditional notions of what cancer treatment can, or even should, aim to achieve. Rather than waging all-out war, establishing a permanent truce between the body's immune system and cancer may be more likely to benefit patients in the long term, and more safely, too. Control, then, may be the cure.

On February 8, 2011, the Cancer Research Institute presented a panel discussion with three leading tumor immunologists whose work is helping to redefine cancer treatment. They shared recent insights about the relationship between the immune system and cancer and how new therapies that seek to restore immune control of cancer are not only saving patient lives today, but also stand to transform the face of cancer treatment forever.

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Speakers:
Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor at the New York University School of Medicine and director of the Tumor Vaccine Program at the NYU Cancer Institute. A physician-scientist specializing in melanoma, Dr. Bhardwaj is a pioneer in dendritic cell-based cancer vaccines and is conducting clinical trials aimed at learning how to optimize these vaccines to generate more effective immune protection against cancer.

Robert D. Schreiber, Ph.D., an immunologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, established a scientific pillar of cancer immunotherapy when, in 2001, he and others proved that the immune system is able to detect, attack, and eliminate cancer cells. He has since described three distinct phases of immune control of cancer--elimination, equilibrium, and escape--and the opportunities they provide for therapeutic intervention.

Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., is a clinical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he leads clinical trials of experimental cancer vaccines and other immune-based treatments. Dr. Wolchok is testing a new class of powerful immunotherapies called checkpoint blockades, which can sustain the cancer-fighting activity of the immune system.

The discussion will be moderated by Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., executive director of the Cancer Research Institute.
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