We celebrate the accomplishments of Jim Allison, Ph.D., winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Allison discovered the technique of using the body’s T-cells to fight cancer, leading to breakthrough immunotherapy. This discovery did not happen overnight—it is the product of years of painstaking work in the laboratory. And like many breakthroughs, the work probably began with small steps that did not communicate their full significance until much later.
In NETs, immunotherapy has not yet proven to be our breakthrough. NETRF has funded multiple projects to understand the immune environment of neuroendocrine tumors and how best to use the immune system as a therapy. These studies are vital to learn how to apply discoveries in other cancers, such as immunotherapy, to NETs. Immunotherapy may be the adjunct, to enlist the immune system to make other therapies more effective.
That’s why NETRF’s Spark Hope campaign is so important. Because we do not know where the next NET breakthrough will be found, we need to invest research dollars strategically to advance those areas that are most promising. And we need to continue to support those scientists whose work advances our knowledge of NETs. Our work will not be done until every person with a neuroendocrine tumor has a cure and the opportunity to live a full and long life.
There could be a future Nobel Prize winner working somewhere today in a laboratory, focusing on why neuroendocrine tumors behave differently and how we can effectively treat NETs. Early funding through NETRF is essential to recruit the brightest and best researchers to this field so they can build a career. Thank you for your support of our Spark Hope campaign to spark scientific discovery and ultimately, improve, extend, and save lives.