Your immune system consists of white blood cells, organs, and tissues of the lymph system. It scans your body and identifies abnormalities and foreign objects. The immune system fights numerous microbes every day and helps us remain free of diseases and infection.
Immunotherapy harnesses the power of your body’s immune system to fight against diseases like cancer. It is a biological therapy which means it uses substances obtained from living organisms to fight against ailments.
Immunotherapy helps treat some types of cancer and is a topic for numerous studies. Numerous clinical trials and research are being conducted to discover ways of immunotherapy treatment.
How does immunotherapy treat diseases like cancer?
Immunotherapy helps in treating cancer in one of the two ways:
One method involves activating and accelerating your body’s immune systems so that it can detect and attack cancer cells effectively.
The second method involves artificially making substances that resemble the components of your immune system. These components are used to improve your immune system’s ability in finding and treating cancer cells.
Why is the immune system unable to treat cancer?
Our immune system detects and destroys abnormal cells. They keep track of substances normally found in the human body, which allows them to identify foreign microbes and attack them. They are capable of killing any foreign object like germs and bacteria.
However, the immune system is not as effective in combating cancer cells. This is because cancer originates with normal cells in the body that changes and grows to becomes cancer cells.
Since they originate from normal cells and slowly transition to cancer cells, the immune system is unable to identify them as foreign objects.
The cancer cells avoid attacks by the immune system through the following ways.
- They can have genetic alterations making them less likely to be detected by the immune system.
- Protein on the surface of cancer cells can deactivate the immune response.
- Changing the cells around the tumor makes it difficult for the immune system to target the cancer cells.
Also, sometimes the immune system identifies the cancer cells but, the immune response is not strong enough to destroy them. This could be due to weaker immune cells due to aging or other factors.
What are the types of immunotherapy treatments for cancer?
Various types of immunotherapies used to treat cancer are mentioned below.
- T-cell transfer therapy
T-cell therapy, also known as adoptive therapy, is the method that promotes your T-cell’s ability to fight cancer.
The most active immune cells are collected from the tumor. These cells are then processed and modified in the lab to accelerate their ability to combat cancer cells. These cells are then grown in large numbers and reintroduced into your body to fight cancer cells more effectively.
T cell therapy is also called immune cell therapy or adoptive immunotherapy.
- Checkpoint Inhibitors
The immune system consists of immune checkpoints that prevent it from going too strong. Checkpoint inhibitors are drugs that block the immune checkpoint. Blocking the checkpoints allows the immune response to grow strong and attack cancer cells.
- Monoclonal antibodies
Monoclonal antibodies are immune system proteins synthesized in laboratories. They are also called therapeutic antibodies.
They can target and bind themselves to the specific parts of the cancer cells. Some monoclonal antibodies are also used to mark the cancer cells so that they can be detected and destroyed by the immune system.
- Immune system modulators
Immune system modulators refer to a group of drugs that promotes the body’s response to cancer cells. Some modulators affect specific parts of the immune system, while others affect the body’s immune system as a whole.
- Cancer Treatment vaccines
Cancer vaccines enhance your body’s immune system to help fight cancer. Most vaccines are given to healthy people to eliminate the chances of potential future ailments. Cancer vaccines help prevent and treat cancer by initiating an immune response to cancer.
Immunotherapy cancer treatment is a revolution in modern sciences and can cure different types of cancer in a faster and more effective manner.
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