Though there are many types of immunotherapies that can help the immune system act directly against cancer, medicines known as checkpoint inhibitors have now become mainstream in the treatment of solid tumours such as melanoma and lung cancer.

Checkpoint inhibitors work by releasing “brakes” that keep T cells (a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system) from killing cancer cells. These drugs do not target the tumor directly. Instead, they interfere with the ability of cancer cells to avoid immune system attack.

To understand how checkpoint inhibitors work, please watch the short video presentation prepared by the Cancer Research Institute.