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Checkpoint Blockade: Taking the Brakes Off the Immune System

While the immune system can naturally defend us against cancer, cancer can sometimes fool the immune system into not attacking it. One trick cancer uses is exploiting checkpoints, which normally prevent the immune system form attacking healthy cells, but can also be used by tumors to protect them from immune responses.

James P. Allison, Ph.D., of MD Anderson discusses how some proteins in immune cells act as "brakes" on the immune system response and how drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors can be used to “release the brakes,” allowing a stronger immune attack against cancer.

James P. Allison, Ph.D., is the Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is the Director of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Cancer Research Institute. 

The "Cancer Immunotherapy and You" webinar series is produced by the Cancer Research Institute and is made possible with generous support from Bristol-Myers Squibb, with additional support from Regeneron, Sanofi Genzyme, and Adaptimmune.

Browse our Cancer Immunotherapy and You Webinar Series playlist on YouTube or visit the Webinars page on our website to see other webinars in this series.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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