Cancer immunotherapy is now a reality. The results are phenomenal but the cost is outrageous. Even if the cost eventually comes down and immunotherapy becomes more broadly available, using the knowledge derived from immunotherapy to apply to immunoprevention would be a good strategy. The most likely approach to cancer immunoprevention is cancer vaccines. To date, cancer vaccines have been tested mostly in the setting of advanced disease. Numerous immunosuppressive mechanisms have been identified in the tumor microenvironment as well as systemically that compromise the ability of cancer patients to respond to the vaccines. Multiple approaches are being tested to improve therapeutic cancer vaccine efficacy, including combinations with other immunotherapies. An alternative approach is to administer the vaccines to individuals without cancer but at high risk for cancer. Data in support of this approach and immunoprevention in general is accumulating and clinical testing has started.
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