• By Dana Sparks

Discovery’s Edge: A Foundation of Cancer Research

August 2, 2016

Immune response in metastatic melanoma – The image shows three different levels of tumor infiltration or anti-cancer immune response in treatment. The first image shows an area with almost no infiltrating immune cells (blue). The second demonstrates moderate infiltration. The third shows an area of tumor with widespread immune infiltrationOn August 20, 2015, former president Jimmy Carter announced he was battling metastatic melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Doctors removed a one-inch mass from his liver, only to find the cancer had spread to four different spots in his brain. They treated him with surgery and radiation, plus a new drug designed to reinvigorate his immune system against the remaining cancer cells. Less than seven months later, doctors declared the 91 year-old cancer-free and stopped his treatment.

Dr. Dong was a recent guest of President Jimmy Carter. Photo by the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Dong was a recent guest of President Jimmy Carter. Photo by the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia

He credits his successful recovery to immunotherapy. This type of drug treatment prompts the body’s immune system to refocus itself on fighting cancer and while these advances are new, the idea of immunotherapy is not. Some of the foundational discoveries were made nearly two decades ago in a series of experiments performed by Mayo Clinic researchers, including Haidong Dong, Ph.D., under the direction of Lieping Chen, M.D., Ph.D., (now at Yale). Read the rest of the article on Discovery's Edge.
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