Written for Mediaplanet’s Future of Cancer Care campaign.

Published in the Toronto Star on December 3, 2015. 

Immuno-oncology, also known as immunotherapy or biological therapy, is a relatively new treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancerous cells.

“Cancer cells can manipulate the immune system and make it ineffective,” explains Dr. Michael Smylie, professor of medical oncology at the University of Alberta. “All we’re doing [with immuno-oncology] is reversing that manipulation and activating the immune cells so the system will recognize the disease as ‘foreign’ and get rid of it.”

In the past few years, this new approach to cancer treatment has been shown to dramatically improve the survival rates for certain cancers including small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, and colorectal cancer.

“It’s a revolution in cancer treatment,” Dr. Smylie says.

Read the full story here.