I have just lost a friend so this is of interest to me.

James P. Allison is the chairman of the immunology department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His seminal research opened up a new field in cancer treatment: immunotherapy. Instead of poisoning a tumor or destroying it with radiation, Dr. Allison has pioneered ways to unleash the immune system to destroy a cancer.

Two years ago, Science magazine anointed immunotherapy as the “Breakthrough of the Year.” More recently, Dr. Allison, 66, won the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, often a precursor to a Nobel.

Something from the interview… on a different note if you will excuse the pun.

On a less serious subject, is it true you once sang with Willie Nelson?

Only once. I was a postdoc in La Jolla, Calif., and I had this little band that played local bars. He came by and we sang “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” Seeing someone survive cancer because of something I’ve been part of is about as good it gets. But at that time, singing with Willie was big.

James Allison

James P. Allison in his laboratory in Houston. He discovered an alternative to using radiation to fight cancer, finding a way to set T-cells loose on the disease. CreditScott Dalton for The New York Times

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Here  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/science/arming-the-immune-system-against-cancer.html?_r=0  you can find an interview with Dr Allison on getting the body’s t-Cells to do the work. This is probably the way to go in the future.

This is probably becoming the focus now because here is another article http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-human-leukemia-cells-harmless-immune.html on new directions in treatment of cancer (with a difference to the one above)..

Majeti and his colleagues have some reason to hope that when the cancer cells become macrophages they will not only be neutralized, but may actually assist in fighting the cancer. Like a bloodhound owner who gives the dog a sniff of an object that was associated with the person or animal he wants to track, macrophage cellspresent recognizable bits of abnormal cells to other immune cells so that they can launch an attack. “Because the macrophage cells came from the cancer cells, they will already carry with them the chemical signals that will identify the cancer cells, making an immune attack against the cancer more likely,” Majeti said.