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The Stanford Cancer Immunotherapy Program is finding new ways to harness the immune system to fight cancer. Our program includes physician scientists working across multiple cancer types to develop innovative treatments and delivery mechanisms with the potential to provide durable, robust cancer immune responses. Our efforts are advancing: patient-specific vaccines and cell-based therapies that incite your own immune defenses to attack cancer; new targets for today's therapeutic monoclonal antibodies; and the potential of cytokines and other effector molecules as therapeutic agents.
By far the biggest breakthrough in cancer therapy in the past 30 years, Stanford was the first institution in the world to develop and use monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer. We are now pushing the boundaries to develop new ways to make monoclonal antibodies even more effective in fighting cancer.
Research at Stanford has led to the development of a number of targeted therapies that are now FDA approved:
Rituximab, the first FDA approved monoclonal antibody for the treatment of cancer and now used to treat lymphoma and many autoimmune diseases, was developed based on the work of Stanford physician scientist Ronald Levy, MD.
Provenge, the first FDA approved therapeutic vaccine for cancer, was developed based on the work of Stanford physician scientist Edward Engleman, MD.
Stanford also offers other cutting edge targeted therapies that are FDA approved:
Ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody currently approved for the treatment of Melanoma.
High Dose Interleukin-2, a cytokine signaling molecule approved for renal cell carcinoma.
Clinical protocols for new treatments
Stanford is developing innovative immune system-boosting drugs that target various mechanisms of action, as well as multi-modality treatments that combine immunotherapies:
Anti-PD1 and anti-PDL1 monoclonal antibodies
Cytokines, including Interleukin-15
HyperAcute®-Pancreas (algenpantucel-L) immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer
Clinical protocols for cancer vaccines
In an attempt to limit the toxicity that can result from systemic treatment, Stanford is developing new cancer vaccines and combination therapies:
In situ vaccinations to stimulate immune response, including intra-tumoral delivery of ipilimumab and other monoclonal antibodies for melanoma, lymphoma and colon cancer
Combination vaccines plus cytokines: Provenge plus Interleukin-7 for castrate resistant prostate cancer
Vaccine plus cellular immunotherapies: Immunotransplant for mantle cell lymphoma
Vaccine trials for ovarian cancer
PROSTVAC – a novel “off the shelf” prostate cancer vaccine
Stanford is developing new protocols to isolate a patient’s own immune cells, reprogram the T-cells and reinfuse them back into the patient in order to combat cancer:
Adoptive T cell transfer to redirect the immune system against various cancers
Beginning in 2014, Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells for ALL, CLL and B-cell Lymphoma
Blood and marrow transplantation
Stanford has long been a leader in innovation in the field of blood and marrow transplantation which relies upon immune reactivity of donor derived cells to cure patients with a broad range of hematological malignancies. Areas of active investigation include the use of immune regulatory cells to reduce the risks of immune mediated graft vs host disease and to direct the immune system towards recipient malignant cells through isolation, activation and expansion of specific natural killer and T cell populations.
Partnering for Excellence
The Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Network is part of the Stanford Cancer Institute, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center.
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