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About the Center for Immuno-Oncology

  • Center-for Immuno-Oncology team members

    The Center for Immuno-Oncology conducts clinical trials for a variety of cancers using immunotherapy. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, specialists from our Center will work with you and your treatment team to discuss whether immunotherapy may be an option for you.

    The Center for Immuno-Oncology (CIO) conducts clinical studies in one of the most exciting areas of cancer research today: unleashing the power of the body's immune system to detect and combat tumors. The Center aims to maximize the advances of immunotherapy and take advantage of the growing enthusiasm in the field, spurred by recent successes with vaccine therapies in prostate cancer and immune modulating monoclonal antibodies in malignant melanoma.

    Specialists are moving these immunotherapy strategies toward other cancers with the aim of optimizing treatment for a wide range of cancers. The Center fosters collaborative research among laboratory and clinical investigators in many different departments at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC).

    The Center helps Dana-Farber investigators take advantage of the explosion of interest in immuno-oncology and ensures that testing of these promising new agents is done in the smartest and safest manner.

  • Longtime leadership in immunology

    Dana-Farber has a history of important discoveries about the immune system, laying the groundwork for today's promising developments in immunotherapy for cancer and other diseases.

    Former Dana-Farber President Baruj Benacerraf shared a Nobel Prize in 1980 for discovering genes that regulate the immune system's response to foreign antigens, and he recruited many young scientists who would become leaders in immunology. During the 1980s and 1990s, Dana-Farber investigators made a series of discoveries that increased understanding of the immune system and the roles of different types of specialized T cells. Research using monoclonal antibodies contributed to the development of Rituxan, a monoclonal antibody that became a mainstay of treatment for lymphoma.

    More recently, Dana-Farber scientists discovered proteins known as PD-1 and PD-L1 that cancer cells use to escape attack by the immune system. Currently, antibodies that block PD-1 and boost the immune defenses are showing great promise as treatments for melanoma and other cancers. Dana-Farber physician-scientists are leaders of clinical trials that have shown the effectiveness of Provenge, a vaccine for treating prostate cancer, and ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody that is helping some patients with advanced melanoma survive for as long as 10 years.