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November 7, 2017

Gene Editing Provides Clues to Why Cancer Immunotherapy Often Fails

JAMA. 2017;318(17):1641-1642. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.15507

With growing knowledge of cancer genetics and mutated proteins expressed by tumor cells, various immunotherapies have been approved to treat individuals with malignancies of the skin, lung, bladder, kidney, and other sites. However, significant and lasting treatment responses tend to occur in only a subset of patients. To fully harness the potential of the body’s immune system to fight cancer, scientists must overcome major hurdles involving tumor escape. New research may bring them closer to this goal, with the help of a “2 cell type” gene-editing approach that examines how genetic mutations in one cell can affect its interaction with a different type of cell.