Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the body's immune system to fight cancer. The immune system is designed to identify and destroy abnormal cells, including cancer cells, in the body. However, cancer cells can sometimes evade the immune system, allowing them to continue to grow and spread. Immunotherapy works by boosting the immune system's ability to recognize and attack cancer cells.
There are several types of immunotherapies, including checkpoint inhibitors, CAR T-cell therapy, and cancer vaccines. Checkpoint inhibitors are drugs that block certain proteins on cancer cells, allowing the immune system to recognize and attack them. CAR T-cell therapy involves removing immune cells called T-cells from a patient's blood, modifying them to recognize and attack cancer cells, and then reinfusing them into the patient's body. Cancer vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Immunotherapy can be used to treat many different types of cancer, including lung cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer. It can be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
One of the benefits of immunotherapy is that it can have fewer side effects than traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. However, like all cancer treatments, it can cause side effects, including fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and skin rash. More serious side effects can occur in some patients, including inflammation of the lungs, liver, or other organs.
Immunotherapy has been a major breakthrough in cancer treatment, offering hope to patients who previously had limited treatment options. However, it is not effective for all patients, and research is ongoing to identify biomarkers that can predict which patients are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.