The Future of Immunotherapy: A 20-Year Perspective

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Immunotherapy is the field of immunology that aims to identify treatments for diseases through induction, enhancement or suppression of an immune response. Immunotherapies designed to instigate or enhance an immune response are considered "activating immunotherapies" while those designed to repress an immune response are "suppressive immunotherapies." This perspective will focus on two areas of immunotherapy, activating immunotherapies for cancer and suppressive immunotherapies for autoimmunity both of which have seen a resurgence in interest in recent years and are likely to transform the treatment of many human diseases in the next 20 years. Effective immunotherapies for cancer, where the aim is to activate tumor-specific immune responses, will be totally different from those designed to suppress the immune response to self-antigens in autoimmune disease. Furthermore, the reader will appreciate that the degree to which side effects of immunotherapies are acceptable will differ drastically between life-threatening cancers and chronic, debilitating but not necessarily life-threatening autoimmune conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number01668
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2017


  • cancer
  • autoimmune disease
  • immunotherapy
  • cancer vaccines
  • multiple sclerosis


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