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Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Diego, is also one of only a few cancer centers in the country with the capability to explore all facets of immunotherapy, the use of drugs that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. Our team — led by world renowned physician-scientist Ezra Cohen, MD — has activated several clinical trials to explore novel immune checkpoint inhibitors and tumor vaccines at our Precision Immunotherapy Clinic.

What Is Cancer Immunotherapy?

The immune system is the body's natural defense against infection and disease.

Cancer immunotherapy is treatment that harnesses the body's immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy drugs do not directly target tumors. Instead, they activate or train the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Some immunotherapies are now standard treatment for certain cancers, while others are only available at our Precision Immunotherapy Clinic.

What Are the Advantages of Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy drugs can potentially:

  • Reach diseased areas that surgeons cannot
  • Target microscopic tumors and metastases that are not visible in imaging studies
  • Attack cancer cells that are not rapidly dividing but still capable of spreading disease
  • Train the immune system's "memory cells" for long-term anti-cancer protection.

Types of Immunotherapy

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Clinical Trials

Video: Is the Next Big Step in Cancer Therapy Personalized Vaccines?

Ezra Cohen, MD, associate director for translational science at Moores Cancer Center, and Stephen Schoenberger, PhD, professor of immunology at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, developed a new technology that identifies a patient’s unique targets that can be used to create a vaccine specific to each individual person.

Support Our Immunotherapy Work

For information on how to support cancer immunotherapy, please call 858-531-3745.

Your support will allow us to complete our new cell processing lab more quickly and dramatically accelerate our immunotherapy trials and research, delivering this transformative therapy and its life-saving results to our patients who need help now.

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