Health Watch - Cancer Advances: Targeting the Immune System

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about recent advances in preventing, predicting and treating cancer. The genetic disease neurofibromatosis involves tumors that develop around nerves. The tumors can become big enough to cause disfigurement and disability, and sometimes they become cancerous. Because these tumors are so complex, they’re nearly impossible to remove surgically. But researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a new way to attack them.

They found that these tumors need help from immune system cells to grow, so using a drug that targets the immune system shrinks the tumors. Dr. Luis Parada, a
UT Southwestern developmental biologist, says targeting the tumor’s environment rather than the tumor itself may lead to a viable way to approach previously untreatable tumors. Doctors plan to begin clinical trials on this treatment soon.

Visit  to learn more about
UT Southwestern’s clinical services in cancer treatment.


February 2009

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.