Bianca is a freelance science journalist, broadcaster and author, who is yet to meet a piece of research she doesn’t find fascinating. In nearly a decade of freelance reporting, she has written for publications including Scientific American, Nature, The Australian, Ecos, Australian Doctor, Medicine Today and the ABC’s health, science and environment websites.
She is also author of The End: The Human Experience Of Death and co-author of The Sixth Wave: How To Succeed In A Resource-Limited World.
The immune system has evolved over millions of years to protect the human body against microbes, pathogens and parasites. Which makes it all the more puzzling to immunologists as to why, when it comes to helping the body defend itself against cancer, immunotherapy treatments designed to enhance the immune system have so far failed to make even the slightest dent in halting the spread of the disease.
So when medical oncologist Naiyer Rizvi became involved with the phase I trial of a tumour antibody a few years ago, he was prepared for failure. In fact, there was a certain glum expectation in the lung-cancer community that this trial would go the way of so many other attempts to fight cancer by enlisting the body’s own immune system. Read more.