How Immunotherapy Works for Cancer Treatment and its Common Types

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How Immunotherapy Works for Cancer Treatment and its Common Types

Pharma Tech Outlook | Friday, December 17, 2021

Immunotherapy is not the best treatment for all cancer patients, but it is helping some of them. Those patients may live longer and have fewer side effects, as well as a higher quality of life.

Fremont, CA: Immunotherapy is a type of precision medicine that can help the immune system identify and fight off cancer cells. Immunotherapy may work well for one patient, but it is not for everyone.

How does immunotherapy work for cancer treatment?

The Immune system can sometimes malfunction when it identifies the body's normal cells as a threat. It can result in autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, or lupus. When it fails to understand cancer-related cell alterations as harmful, the cells grow, form tumors, and, in certain cases, spread throughout the body.

It's almost like the immune system is sleeping on the job when cancer eludes it. Immunotherapy stimulates the immune system by informing it that cancer cells are a serious threat. When the immune system detects a threat, T-cells are activated and released to kill cancer cells. Immunotherapy boosts the immune system to fight cancer and is sometimes used in conjunction with other cancer therapies such as radiation or chemotherapy. Unlike chemotherapy and radiation, it can be administered for a longer period of time to keep cancer at bay.

Common types of immunotherapy treatments for cancer are:

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy: The patient's own T-cells are re-engineered to increase their ability to recognize and fight cancer cells in CAR T-cell therapy. The CAR T-cells are then reintroduced into the body of the patient.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors: These medications interfere with the immune system's capacity to recognize cancer cells as hazardous by blocking signals between cancer cells and immune cells. T-cells are released to attack cancer cells when the signal is blocked.

Cancer Vaccines: Cancer vaccines either target cancer-causing viruses (for example, the HPV vaccine) or assist the immune system in recognizing and attacking tumor-associated antigens on cancer cells.

Cytokines: Cytokines are proteins that are naturally present in the body that assists cells in initiating an immune response. Immunotherapy involves injecting higher-than-normal amounts of lab-created cytokines into a patient to increase the immune system's reaction to malignancy.

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