Press Release

New Report Shows More than 240 Immuno-Oncology Treatments in Development for Patients with Cancer

Rapid Advances in Science Fuel New Era of Medicine Aimed at Fighting Cancer

PhRMA June 1, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 1, 2017)— A new report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in partnership with The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) finds there are more than 240 immuno-oncology medicines and vaccines currently in development. Research into the role of the body’s immune system in fighting cancer has yielded some of the most exciting new advances, resulting in a new wave of immunotherapies specifically targeting cancers.

New immuno-oncology treatment options are enabling the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer similarly to the way it fights disease-causing viruses and bacteria. These treatments can help unleash a patient’s own immune system against cancer, with the potential for lasting results. While there is no single established definition of immuno-oncology, the report includes many of the most recognized classes: adoptive cell therapies (including CAR-T therapy), bi-specific antibodies, cytokines, immune checkpoint modulators, oncolytic virus therapies, and vaccines.

“Cancer continues to be one of the most complex and vexing diseases of our time and it will impact an estimated 1.6 million Americans who will be diagnosed this year,” said Stephen J. Ubl, president and chief executive officer of PhRMA. “As our understanding of the root causes of cancer grows, we are expanding the types of treatments we are able to bring to patients. The idea of harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer is not new but recent breakthroughs are making it a reality, bringing hope to patients.”

“We are at a moment of tremendous opportunity when it comes to developing therapies that can address even the most vexing cancers we see today,” said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “To fully leverage our potential to reduce suffering and death from cancer, robust and sustained federal investment in basic research is critical to provide the necessary building blocks that together with privately-funded innovation lead to advances in immunotherapy and other targeted treatments.”

In addition to the medicines in development, researchers are also working to understand the full potential of each individual medicine, seeking approval for new indications for many existing immunotherapies, and also new uses in combination with other cancer medicines. While new approvals in recent years represent significant advances for patients, biopharmaceutical research companies are committed to continuing to seek new cancer treatments and potential cures for America’s patients.

The full “Medicines in Development for Immuno-Oncology” report can be downloaded here.


About PhRMA
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than half a trillion dollars in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $58.8 billion in 2015 alone.

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