Cancer is characterized by unregulated and uncontrolled cell growth leading to the formation of malignant tumors that can invade other parts of the body (metastasis) and impair the normal function(s) of the affected organ(s).
Cancer immunotherapy intends to mobilize a patient’s immune system to fight the disease. This approach was chosen as the “Breakthrough of the year 2013” by SCIENCE magazine.
Cancer immunotherapy can be divided into passive immunotherapy, i.e. transfer of certain immune effector cells (T-cells) or antibodies, or active immunotherapy through therapeutic vaccination. Therapeutic cancer vaccines target antigens that are selectively expressed or overexpressed by cancer cells compared to healthy cells.