Breakthroughs in Medical Oncology

VIDEO | 03:00

Medical oncologist Clifford Hudis talks about efforts to use advances in immunology and molecular biology to develop new, targeted, and less-toxic cancer treatments.

Dr. Hudis, who is Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Breast Cancer Medicine Service and President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), provides a perspective that echoes comments made in his address to the organization’s 2013 meeting.

Dr. Hudis indicates that over the past two years, researchers have made significant progress in using immunotherapies — drugs that manipulate the immune system to fight disease — to treat some of the most intractable types of cancer.

The new immunotherapy ipilimumab (YervoyTM), which was developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering, has proved highly effective in shrinking tumors and improving survival for patients with metastatic melanoma, for example.

Building on this success, cancer biologists are working to broaden the use of immunotherapy as a treatment for many other cancers, including breast cancer.

Looking forward, Dr. Hudis anticipates recent breakthroughs in molecular biology soon leading to the development of various novel targeted therapies for cancer.