Often in medical investigation there is a period of early enthusiasm when the initial discovery is appreciated and the possible applications and implications are considered. When the discovery is a new therapeutic modality, this initial period of great expectation is followed by a greater understanding of both the toxicity of the agent as well as the limitations of the treatment efficacy, leading to some disillusionment. It is only with time, experience, and careful reporting of the complete experience that the new therapy can be evaluated and its importance determined.
This has surely been the case with interleukin 2 (IL-2) treatment for cancer. Early reports of the use of IL-2 published by the National Cancer Institute surgery group led by Dr Rosenberg1,2 generated considerable interest. Much was written in both the medical literature and the lay press following publication of some of the initial responses observed with IL-2 treatment for
Hellman S. Immunotherapy for Metastatic CancerEstablishing a 'Proof of Principle'. JAMA. 1994;271(12):945-946. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510360071040