Jim Allison, Cancer, Dr Monica Burton Yolly discussed on On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts

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This is on point Meghna trucker. Bharti. We're talking this hour about where we are with cancer research and why they're so much excitement around immunological therapies for treating cancer. And we're joined today by the two thousand eighteen Nobel prize winner in physiology or medicine. He's Jim Allison, and he shares that a word with suco hundreds of Kyoto University. His work in cancer immunotherapy was recognized by the Nobel committee this year. Jim Allison is also chair of the department of immunology at MD cancer center, and I want to bring in another voice into the conversation. Mr. Allison, if I could joining us now is Dr Monica Burton Yolly. She is president of the American society for Clinical Oncology. She's also chief of the division of surgical oncology at Dana Farber Brigham and women's hospital cancer center and a professor of surgery at Harvard Harvard Medical School as well. And she joins us today from Washington after newly welcome to on point high magnetic great to be here. It's great to have. You know, you heard Jim Allison. Described his research and also, you know, meeting the first patient that he had. He had met one on one who'd undergone immunotherapy for her cancer really moving story. But I'm just if you could sort of describe from the point of view of as a fellow researcher. So sort of how revolutionary is it that that we're thinking or focusing so much on using the immune system rather than external chemicals for treating cancer? Well, you know, there is nothing more exciting to biologists researchers in our field than to see something some understanding from human biology finally reveal that we can really use it help patients. And that was an incredibly moving story that you know. Fortunately, we're hearing lots of these stories in, you know back it was it's a couple of decades. Now in the early nineties that there was a first clue that the immune system could do this. There was some work done by Steven Rosenberg at the National Cancer Institute where he. Found that giving natural drugs called cytokines kinds that could really jazz up. The immune system could really re eliminate tumors in patients with melanoma and renal cancers. And and you know, it was. It was just a glimmer that this might be possible, and then it took decades of really careful work in the laboratory and understanding the biology to really make this something that could help patients. And so it's just wonderful to see the Nobel prize awarded in this field and even better to see this brand new tool that we have to fight cancer. No, are we're talking about treatments and fighting cancer here? Is anyone thinking that immunotherapy might lead down to the root of a cure. So we do see some cures from immunotherapy. What is cure mean? You know to to clinicians cure means you have someone who has a tumor and you're somehow something we can do is able to eliminate that tumor and the doesn't come back in their body. That's what we mean by cure. And some of these initial immunotherapy is perhaps the patient that Dr Alison just described. She lives her entire lifetime with this tumor. Never recurring that that's a cure. So clinicians are very cautious in using the cure word. But what really matters to patients is that they live a long long life and never have the burden of cancer in their life. So that's what we're seeing. We're seeing that with immunotherapy. Okay, Jim Allison, let me let me turn back to you here. I mean, what? What do you think about what Dr Brunelli has said is, are we should we be talking about potential cures. For a long time. It's been considered really, you know, impr- inappropriate to use the word catcher in the same sentence. But but I agree with Dr bird nearly melanoma patients that receive if you map just as a single therapy, a single round of treatments, it's for injections, but about delivered twenty percent of them are alive at least ten years after a single treatment..

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