Since the advent of medical research the use of surgery and its application in the excision of tumour tissue has been the primary mode of treatment for solid tumour masses. Over the last century, chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been used in combination with surgery to improve the survival rates of cancer patients. Recently research has lead to our increased understanding of the bodies’ reaction to cancer which has enabled researchers to appreciate the role of our own immune system to destroy cancer cells.
The immune system has a remarkable capacity for fending off infectious diseases, and it has become clear that these same defences can recognise and destroy cancer cells. CCRC is looking at methods that assist the immune system to distinguish between normal cells and cancerous ones, thereby enabling the body’s natural immune defence systems to eliminate the cancer cells.
Advances in gene transfer technology and basic immunology have opened new research avenues that have enabled researchers to stimulate anti-tumour immune responses in pre-clinical trials using immunogene therapy. The history of cancer research has been marked by cycles of intense excitement and disappointments. Our hope is that properly managed research will lead to new therapies and cures improving the quality of life for all patients – the universal objective of all researchers and clinicians.