It's been nearly seven years since the first FDA-approved checkpoint inhibitor for melanoma came on the market and doctors, researchers, and patients all keep asking: "who is most likely to benefit from immunotherapy? How can we make this work for more people?" Thankfully, the answer may be closer than we thought and the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other bugs - which make up our microbiome - may have something to say about it.
Despite success in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer by harnessing the body’s immune system to fight it, a major difficulty continues to be the range of responses to treatment among patients. It’s why researchers are exploring why some cancer patients exhibit astounding results with little side effects while others receive no benefits to the treatment and/or experience severe side effects.