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Notre Dame professor researching groundbreaking treatment that could cure cancer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

A remarkable new therapy could be the cure for cancer in the near future. One Notre Dame Professor is sharing this groundbreaking research with the community. 

Doctors and researchers say this treatment is highly effective for patients with cancer.

It’s called immunotherapy and for years, doctors have been trying to understand how the immune system works.

Our immune system battles illnesses like the flu or chicken pox, but now they are learning more about how it can play a role in treating cancer patients.

There are immunotherapy drugs on the market and other ways to treat patients while they’re in the hospital, but there are some loopholes researchers are trying to close.

“There’s a real danger that in engineering an immune system to target cancer by also inadvertently doing  something else to target a healthy tissue,” said Dr. Brian Baker, a Professor of Chemistry and Biology at Notre Dame. “We have to figure out how to do target a tumor, not a healthy tissue.”

Doctors are currently in the midst of conducting clinical trials using the treatment. Leaders in the medical field are even looking into a possible vaccine treatment. Doctors say the method is a game changer and could become the cure in the next 20 years or so.

“There are people that are walking around now alive that otherwise wouldn’t be if they didn’t receive this immune therapy,” Dr. Baker said.

In fact, this is the same treatment former President Jimmy Carter received to combat his brain tumor. He is in remission.

However, not every patient has responded positively to the treatment. More testing needs to be done in order to make it mainstream, but interest in the treatment is rising.

“The idea is beginning to be talked about as being mainstream so we’re starting to see big pharmaceutical companies take some big interest in this,” Dr. Baker said. “It’s no longer this academic pursuit that is a hypothetical possibility, it’s people are starting to get cured,” Dr. Baker said.

Baker will be sharing research on this treatment as a part of the Alick Family Oncology Education Series at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

His session, titled Immunology: Research That May Cure Cancer, will be held at the Paqui and Brian Kelly Comprehensive Breast Center in the Survivorship Conference Room Thursday evening at 5 P.M.

For more information on the Alick Family Oncology series, click HERE.

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