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The Cancer Defense: Against cancer, new enhancements to the body's own immune system are looking

If Michelle Boyer had received her diagnosis of advanced and aggressive skin cancer in 2010 instead of 2013, she would almost certainly be dead by now. Melanoma, the most lethal form of skin malignancy, had spread from a mole on her back to her lungs, and she knew her prognosis was grim. But beginning in May 2013, the 29-year-old Seattle resident started a series of revolutionary treatments—some of which first became available in 2011—that prompted her immune system to identify, attack and shrink the tumors. Although Boyer still has cancer and the immune-boosting drugs have taken a toll on her body, she is grateful to be alive and hopes that either her current course of therapy or the next one will eventually give her the kind of miraculous results that other patients have talked about on the Internet. “At this point, this is my life,” she says. “People think it would be really hard to stay positive, but because to me it seems normal, it's not as much effort as you would think.”


Click here to see this story in Scientific American (behind a paywall)


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