By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications

American Cancer Society and Melanoma Research Alliance have united to fund lifesaving research aimed at reducing side effects and improving outcomes for patients treated with immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy is a game changing approach to treating cancer — first pioneered in melanoma — which works by harnessing the power of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. It is now approved to treat melanoma, bladder, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and head and neck cancer; and is being tested in an additional 30 additional cancer types. With more treatments than ever before, we truly are at an incredible moment in the fight against cancer.

While incredibly effective and durable in some patients, immunotherapy can, in some instances, cause the body to attack healthy tissues, creating potentially life-altering or life-threatening issues. While most side effects are managed by medication, severe reactions occur in up to 20 percent of patients with some immunotherapy agents. This research partnership is aimed at tackling these adverse events – expanding the promise of immunotherapy to even more patients.

In this first-of-its-kind partnership, each organization will directly contribute $1 million to support five research teams over several years. By combining our funding, we can help deliver breakthroughs faster than ever before.

Click here to learn more about the funded research and to donate to the partnership.

MRA would like the acknowledge the generous support of Bristol-Myers Squibb, maker of the immunotherapy drugs ipilimumab and nivolumab.

This post was originally published on June 7, 2018, by the Melanoma Research Alliance. It is republished with permission.