Meet the Immuno-Oncologist

By

Louis M. Weiner, MD

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Louis Weiner

Louis M. Weiner, MD, is a board-certified oncologist and director of Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. In our “Meet the Specialist” series, we highlight the unique perspectives of various medical specialists on the types of patients they see and what they find rewarding and challenging in their daily practice.

An immuno-oncologist is a doctor who specializes in utilizing therapies that harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. As an immuno-oncologist, I primarily treat cancer patients with treatments called immunotherapies. It’s a very different solution than the more traditional treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

The goal of traditional cancer treatments is to kill cancer cells, either by removing them from the body (surgery), providing a lethal dose of radiation (radiation therapy), or destroying how cancer cells grow and spread (chemotherapy). Immunotherapy is different—this type of treatment helps the cancer patient’s own immune system eliminate the cancer. Cancer cells have unique properties that protect them from the immune system. But immunotherapies break down those barriers so a patient’s immune system can find and fight cancer cells, just like it would find and fight a virus or infection.

Three patients who have treated cancer with immunotherapy discuss their experiences.

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