August 17, 2023

Cancer research: The role of immunotherapy

Research and clinical trials play a vital role in advancing cancer treatment at Kaiser Permanente. Learn how immunotherapy is improving patients' survival.

Clinical trials investigator Helen Moon, MD, discusses the promise of immunotherapy in this video.

“Until the day that cancer is cured, there’s always room for improvement,” said hematologist-oncologist Helen Moon, MD.

Striving to achieve that improvement is Dr. Moon’s goal. She is a cancer clinical trials investigator for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California.

Clinical trials in cancer

Clinical trials are studies that help researchers learn if a medicine or, therapy, or treatment is a safe and effective way to treat a disease. 

Immunotherapy has changed the world for a number of cancer patients.

“Clinical trials assess the standard of care versus the new drugs that are coming down the pipeline,” Dr. Moon said. “We [look at] the newest drugs that have potential to improve our patients’ survival.”

By participating in these trials, patients may receive lifesaving treatment, and help bring them these treatments to more people in the future.

Advancing cancer care 

One of the most promising new approaches to cancer treatment is immunotherapy. It can help a patient’s immune system fight cancer.

“What we are trying to do is to mount an immune response against that cancer. Not only would the primary cancer shrink, but you’re left with a memory of that cancer immunologically, and it can guard you against further incidents,” said Dr. Moon. “Immunotherapy has changed the world for a number of cancer patients.”

Immunotherapy research is one of more than 200 cancer clinical trials available to our patients.

Learn how cancer research at Kaiser Permanente  is transforming health and health care.