Date of Award

Spring 2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Jay Pieczynski

Committee Member

Tom Cook

Committee Member

Brendaliz Santiago-Narvaez


The battle against cancer is a long-standing struggle that has resulted in new information and the development of novel medical technologies. Current research aims to figure out a way to reprogram cells and bodily mechanisms to eliminate those cells that are cancerous without destroying healthy cells in the process. Methods which use the body’s own mechanisms, such as immunotherapy, have shown and continue to show potential for specifically targeting cancer cells. Adoptive T cell therapy is one form of immunotherapy that has gained significant attention and focus in the field. Therapies improve conditions up to the normal state of being, whereas enhancements improve conditions beyond what is normal. Immunotherapy does not work beyond disease, even with considering the mechanisms by which this T cell modification occurs. The treatment cannot be abused or used beyond its intended purpose because it only accomplishes what a normal immune system response is intended to do- eradicate abnormalities from the body. The immune system itself can be considered therapy as it aims to keep the body well. Enhancement occurs outside the body when T cells are reprogrammed to be CAR T cells. Immunotherapy allows the immune system to recognize harmful cancer cells. Immunotherapy improves health in the ill by bringing already existing abilities of the immune system back to normal, effective levels. Immunotherapy is an ethically good treatment, as it upholds the medical ethics principals of beneficence, nonmaleficence, respect of autonomy, and justice. The mechanisms by which immunotherapy is accomplished are ethical and not solely enhancement, but rather enhancement of a therapy.

Rights Holder

Mariah Daly