It seems like every day there are new advances in the Immunotherapy community. But, what exactly is immunotherapy? Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight off the cancer cells. It can slow down or even stop the cancer cell growth, prevent cancer from spreading throughout the body, and strengthen the immune system to destroy the cancer cells. Usually, the antibodies are created in the patient's’ body or through a drug made in the laboratory. The antibodies are used to increase immune system’s function by improving or restoring it.
Dr. William B. Coley is considered the “Father of Cancer Immunotherapy.” Dr. Coley’s interest in cancer research began after the loss of his cancer patient named Elizabeth “Bessie” Dashiell. Bessie was a young woman who developed a bone cancer called sarcoma following a hand injury on a train. She received an arm amputation from Dr. Coley, but the cancer was so aggressive that it spread throughout her body. After Bessie passed, Dr. Coley decided to devote his life’s work to finding a better way to treat cancer, more specifically, using immunotherapy.