Harnessing the immune system to cure cancer
As always, the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting highlighted the latest and most exciting discoveries covered all aspects of cancer research from around the world. This year’s annual meeting theme: “Harnessing Breakthroughs-Targeting Cures” reflected the great progress being made in translating cancer immunological discoveries from bench to bedside. This meeting report briefly summarized key fundamental knowledge and cutting-edge advances in tumor immunology and immunotherapy. The most recent progression in cancer genomics supports the traditional notion that cancer is immunogenic. The dynamic interplay among malignant cells, immune cells and the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment leads to the escape of tumor from host immune surveillance. A variety of approaches, including immune checkpoint blockers, adoptive cell transfer and cancer vaccines, have been developed to breakdown the tumor immune tolerance aiming to eliminate malignant cells. Long-term survival benefits have been reported in several cancer types, while the curative potential of cancer immunotherapies is just starting to be realized.