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Given the high, and rapidly increasing, incidence of cancer coupled with the enormous cost burden associated with the disease, it has been, and will continue to be, an area of intense focus in biomedical, translational, and clinical research. Research steered towards targeting and manipulating the body’s own immune function to fight cancer has accompanied a paradigm shift in treatment modalities that aims to include more precision/personalized medicine. The positive initial findings and clinical results of recent immunotherapies has precipitated a wave of attention and interest into the field, both in the general public and within the biomedical community. While there have been promising results, harnessing and augmenting the immune system’s ability to recognize and fight cancer has not come without challenges and controversies. In terms of etiology and pathophysiology cancer is incredibly diverse and consequently will likely always require an equally diverse battery of treatment modalities. Combining existing and novel immunotherapies with classical therapeutic approaches will continue to be needed. Where combination therapies are employed caution must be taken to mitigate the potential for increased toxicity and financial burden. The challenge faced will be to work towards rational synergistic approaches with attainable applications and intelligent clinical designs. Coordination and cooperation within the biomedical and translational research communities, as well as with governmental and non-profit organizations to divide attention, funding, and further research into improving all existing and developing strategies remains imperative to be most successful in elucidating and developing the best arsenal against cancer.

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Grand Forks, ND


cancer, immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell transfer, translational research, biomedical research, interdisciplinary cooperation, cancer treatment


Medicine and Health Sciences


Presented at the Spring 2018 Undergraduate Showcase Grand Forks, ND, May 3, 2018.

The Cancer Immunotherapy Armamentarium: Assessing Applications, Ambitions, and Amplitude