Immunotherapy is a biological therapy for cancer treatment which naturally boosts immune system and enables a patient to fight cancer. Immunotherapy uses various ways to treat cancer, which can be listed as below:
Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs)
The mAbs identify and target antigens and engage immune system to destroy them. Antibodies also enable blocking the cancer cells from growing. These can be used to treat brain cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer etc.
Adoptive T cell transfer
T cells are white blood cells which are a part of the immune system. Oncologists collect T cells from the tumour and multiply them in labs so that it can be inserted back into the body after genetically modifying them (2 to 8 weeks) to naturally enhance the capability to fight cancer.
Cytokines are molecules which assist the communication of cells in immune system as well as route the cells towards affected area. Cytokines are further divided into 2 types – IL(interleukins) and IFN(interferons). Interleukins assist in rapid growth of immune cells and interferons enhance the capability of fighting cancer.
The treatment vaccines for cancer are a part of immunotherapy and a complex combination various components to fight the antigens in or nearby the cancer cells. You should not confuse treatment vaccines with preventive vaccines because treatment vaccines are only used when the disease is already present. One of the most used and effective treatment vaccines is known as dendritic cells. These vaccines are used in combination with other substances for maximum advantage such as adjuvants. These vaccines are the most successful in case of brain cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.
BCG is an immunotherapy which is useful in treating cancer in bladder. BCG is an acronym for Bacillus Calmette Guerin. Research has been going on to use BCG for other types of cancer as well. 70% of cases are successful if it is possible to get in direct contact with tumor.
Immunotherapy is a less used treatment for cancer as compared to other treatment methods. Immunotherapy is a great way of treating cancer because it boosts the immune system to fight cancer cells. However, it has some side effects too such as weakness, nausea, fever, fatigue, headache, fluctuating blood pressure and breathing problems etc. In rare cases, Immunotherapy has been observed to cause severe allergies.