Manipulating the immune system in order to induce clinically relevant responses against cancer is a longstanding goal. Interventions to enhance tumor-specific immunity through vaccination, sustaining effector T cell activation, or increasing the numbers of tumor-specific T cells using ex vivo expansion, have all resulted in clinical successes. Here, we examine recent clinical advances and major ongoing studies in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Single agents have so far benefited a limited proportion of patients, and future studies combining different types of immunotherapies and other therapeutic modalities, such as drugs against specific signaling pathways driving cancer cell growth, are needed to pave the way for the development of effective anticancer treatments causing durable responses.
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