Immunotherapy Definition

Immunotherapy revives the body's immune system to work harder & smarter while destroying cancer cells.

The types of immunotherapy are:

Monoclonal Antibodies

These antibodies are man-made versions of immune system proteins that are designed to attack a very specific part of a cancer cell. While ongoing research is determining how many cancers can be treated with monoclonal antibodies, it's mainstream immunotherapy for breast cancer& lung cancer.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Our immune systems have molecular brakes called checkpoints that prevent the immune system from attacking our own bodies. This form of immunotherapy releases the brakes & lets our immune system fight cancer.

Cancer Vaccines

Vaccines are usually given to healthy people to help prevent infections. But some vaccines can help prevent or treat cancer. Vaccines may be made of dead cancer cells, proteins or pieces or proteins from cancer cells, or immune system cells. Sipuleucel-T (Provenge) treats advanced prostate cancer that doesn't respond to other therapies.

Non-Specific Immunotherapies

These treatments enhance the immune system & help the immune system attack cancer cells in a several ways.

Interestingly, BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) the anti- tuberculosis vaccine (a weakened form of the TB bacteria) is an immunotherapy used in the treatment of bladder cancer. When inserted directly into the bladder with a catheter, BCG causes an immune response against cancer cells. It's use in other types of cancer is also being studied.