The Most Promising Cancer Treatments in a Century Have Arrived But Not for Everyone

November 30, 2017

(Wired) – Though he didn’t have the molecular tools to understand why it worked, Coley’s forced infections put the body’s immune system into overdrive, allowing it to take out cancer cells along the way. While the FDA doesn’t have a formal definition for more modern immunotherapies, in the last few years it has approved at least eight drugs that fit the bill, unleashing a flood of money to finance new clinical trials. (Patients had better come with floods of money too—prices can now routinely top six figures.) But while the drugs are dramatically improving the odds of survival for some patients, much of the basic science is still poorly understood. And a growing number of researchers worry that the sprint to the clinic offers cancer patients more hype than hope.

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