Cancer immunotherapy: Recent advances and challenges
Ruby Dhar1, Ashikh Seethy2, Sunil Singh1, Karthikeyan Pethusamy1, Tryambak Srivastava1, Joyeeta Talukdar1, Goura Kishor Rath3, Subhradip Karmakar1
1 Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Guwahati, India
3 Department of Radiation Oncology, DRBRAIRCH, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Department of Radiation Oncology, NCI, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jhajjar, Haryana, India
Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses specific components of a person's immune system to fight diseases. This is usually done by stimulating or assisting one's immune system is attacking the offending agent – for instance, in the case of cancer – the target of immunotherapy will be cancer cells. Some types of immunotherapy are also called biologic therapy or biotherapy. One of the fundamental challenges that a living cell encounters are to accurately copy its genetic material to daughter cells during every single cell cycle. When this process goes haywire, genomic instability ensues, and genetic alterations ranging from nucleotide changes to chromosomal translocations and aneuploidy occur. Genomic instability arising out of DNA structural changes (indels, rearrangements, etc.,) can give rise to mutations predisposing to cancer. Cancer prevention refers to actions taken to mitigate the risk of getting cancer. The past decade has encountered an explosive rate of development of anticancer therapy ranging from standard chemotherapy to novel targeted small molecules that are nearly cancer specific, thereby reducing collateral damage. However, a new class of emerging therapy aims to train the body's defense system to fight against cancer. Termed as “cancer immunotherapy” is the new approach that has gained worldwide acceptance. It includes using antibodies that bind to and inhibit the function of proteins expressed by cancer cells or engineering and boosting the person's own T lymphocytes to target cancer. In this review, we summarized the recent advances and developments in cancer immunotherapy along with their shortcoming and challenges.