Ask the Cancer Experts: Dr. Tak Mak



Here's your chance to Ask the Cancer Experts, of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, a question. Dr. Tak Mak explains what immunotherapy is. #conquercancer
The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the Top 5 Cancer Research Centers in the world.
Jennifer: What is immunotherapy?
We went to Dr. Tak Mak, a senior scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, to tell us about it.

Dr. Mak: Thank you Jennifer for the question. Immunotherapy, in short, is how to galvanize our immune system to fight cancer. You and I know our immune system was build to fight viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc, and we've been really very successful there. But, the immune system, can it be used to fight cancer cells as well?

So today we treat cancer patients with three different kinds of methods:
1. Surgery to remove the tumour, as many as we can find,
2. Radiation. We use radiation to try to kill the tumour,
3. If the tumour has spread to other places, we need to use what is called drugs.

A few years ago, scientists discovered that if we can take away the brake of the immune system, the immune system can not only fight viruses, bacteria, and parasites, it can go into override to kill the cancer cells. And this has now been approved in the US and in Canada for melanoma, a very, very bad form of skin cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and soon to be head and neck cancer. 

So, our understanding is almost unbelievable, and we don't event know where the limit of the sky is.

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