Ask The Cancer Experts: Dr. Pam Ohashi on Immunotherapy



The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the Top 5 Cancer Research Centers in the world.
This week our question came from Joshua: Do you see promise in innate immunotherapy? Combine innate and adaptive immunotherapy? 
We went to Dr. Pam Ohashi, director of the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, to tell us more about immunotherapy. 

Dr. Ohashi: Thanks for the question. I would like to first, before I answer the question, explain a little bit about innate immunity and adaptive immunity. 

Innate Immunity
Dr. Ohashi: These cell types are known to actually initiate an immune response.

Adaptive Immunity
Dr. Ohashi: The adaptive immune system, on the other hand, are a collection of cells that can do more damage than the innate cells. So the adaptive immune system is really critical to induce when you want to actually cure cancer.

Can both innate and adaptive cells be used together?
Dr. Ohashi: Yes, you absolutely have to use both the innate and the adaptive immune system, they come hand-in-hand because that's how the system works.

 The innate and adaptive cells must work in harmony.
Dr. Ohashi: You have to get this innate immune system activated and sustained, and they have to keep on saying, you know, keep on getting these adaptive cells going and make sure they do their job. So you need both because they both come hand-in-hand.

How can these cells be used in immunotherapy?
Dr. Ohashi: When we're thinking about clinical trials and how to use the immune system to fight cancer, ideally you'll do something to trigger the innate immune response, and you'll do something to activate the adaptive immune response. And together they will continue to work together to fight off the cancer.

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