The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in American, with over half a million deaths from cancer reported in 2009. Cancer chemotherapy treatments were developed in the nineteen hundreds and remain the backbone of current treatments; however, they have some limitations. New immunotherapy cancer treatments, where biologic agents are given to patients to influence the body’s natural immune response, are being researched. Among these immunotherapy treatments are co-inhibition blockade of T cells, and combination blockade treatments together with chemotherapy treatment. This review will discuss T cell activation and the role of T cell coinhibitors such as CTLA-4 and PD-1 in immune system function. It will go through some immune system dysfunctions seen in breast cancer patients. The review will focus on the usage of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 antibodies in coinhibition blockade treatments, as well as combination immunotherapy approaches in clinical trials. The mechanism involved in the blockade of T cell coinhibition is important for understanding why this form of immunotherapy is successful. Anti-CTLA-4 and PD-1 antibodies have resulted in objective responses in a good percentage of cancer patients. New combination immunotherapy approaches, as well as immunotherapy treatments in addition to chemotherapy, has been shown to be more effective. Also, the blockade of multiple T cell receptors combined with vaccination in mice has yielded a high survival rate. Most of the material for this paper was located from journals, and extracted via The Touro College Library search engine—primarily through Pubmed.