This whitepaper describes the milestones and challenges of immuno-oncology thereby giving a broad overview of what is necessary to push immunotherapy towards its full potential.
The number of new cancer patient cases will almost double in the next 20 years. Even though this increase in incidence is not a new fact, the mortality rate significantly decreases over time. Decreased mortality can be attributed to extensive research resulting in improved treatments and new strategies, as well as earlier diagnosis due to better screening programs. Although conventional therapies for cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy often result in significant reduction of the tumour or complete remission, the prognosis for advanced tumours remains poor.
One of the most exciting developments lies at the interface of oncology and immunology and prompted the emergence of cancer immuno-therapy by going back to the basics of cancerogenesis, i.e. a malfunctioning immune system. It aims to shift the balance of a pro-tumoural environment towards an unfavorable setting for cancer cells by (re)boosting the immune system.