Using the immune system to fight the deadly disease shows promise, executives say, but vaccines may take years to bring to market.
Biotech executives and cancer researchers are excited about a resurgence in basic studies and clinical trials involving immunotherapeutic approaches to fighting the disease. They caution, however, that because cancer is so poorly understood, products in the marketplace may still be years away.

FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT: A technician from Cytel, one of the many immunotherapeutic biotech firms, works on developing a cancer vaccine.
Cancer immunotherapy is "very promising, but it needs more research," says T.J. Koerner, scientific program director for the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society. "Because cancer is very diverse in its expression, it's going to take diverse paths to fight it. The important aspect to realize is that there probably isn't going to be a simple panacea for fighting cancer."

Dozens of biotech firms are researching and...

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