Preliminary research from around the world indicates that immunotherapies for cancer are less toxic than conventional therapies like chemotherapy and radiation. They also have the potential for fewer and less severe side effects. This means that immunotherapies could improve patients’ quality of life. For developing countries like South Africa, finding immunotherapy solutions is particularly important given the country’s weak health system and the high cost of cancer drugs. The University of Cape Town has set up the country’s first medical biotechnology-based immunotherapy laboratory. The lab is strongly committed to the development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic tools for cancer. Most cancer research has been done on populations of European descent. This means that there’s minimal data on African populations. The lab aims to fill this knowledge gap by diagnosing and treating patients of African descent. The aim is to identify immunotherapy targets in this underrepresented population.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA