The Disease is the Remedy

ALVARO YBARRA ZAVALA / VU FOR TIME

ENLIGHTENED: Bendandi oversaw the five-year breakthrough cancer study in Pamplona

Dr. Maurizio Bendandi pokes fun at advertising slogans. "Pharmaceutical companies love to say, 'Treating cancer, one patient at a time,'" the 43-year-old observes. "But those companies are mass-producing drugs. We're the ones really doing it."

The "we" to whom Bendandi refers are the nine scientists on his team at work on customized cancer vaccines. A treatment that uses a patient's own tumor cells to provoke an immunological response, vaccines are one of the most promising developments in the fight against cancer, and a goal hotly pursued by researchers around the world. Bendandi and his colleagues at Spain's Center...