Narrator: This is Science Today. Understanding how cancer interacts with the immune system has changed over the last few decades. That's why, as we approach the 21st Century, immunotherapy is at the forefront of cancer research. Dr. Robert Figlin of UCLA says this understanding is partly due to better technology.
Figlin: We now have the tools that we didn't have before and I think that as most people would think and I agree - we're really on the horizon of disease and treatment specific immune therapy as opposed to non-specific, hoping that the immune system will somehow figure out a way to deal with it.
Narrator: Figlin says researchers have also realized patients need to be treated earlier before the cancer and chemotherapy have overwhelmed the immune system.
Figlin: We're treating patients earlier in the course of their disease and ultimately what's called adjunctive therapy - giving therapy at a time when a person's at risk but does not have clinical evidence of cancer - is the place where immunotherapy is going to have it's biggest role.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.