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What Is Immunotherapy?

By    |   Monday, 13 Jun 2016 04:38 PM

What is immunotherapy? It is a range of therapies that boost the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy medication helps the immune system identify abnormal cancer cells so they can be destroyed.

The body’s immune system usually fights off foreign invaders, but it has difficulty recognizing cancer cells, which are made in the body and go through mutations, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The cells continue to grow and spread throughout the body.

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Immunotherapy drugs, however, block receptors that help to hide the cancer cells. The immune system then identifies these cells and attacks them.

Types of immunotherapy methods include monoclonal antibodies that bind or mark cancer cells so the immune system can locate and destroy them, the National Cancer Institute notes.

Doctors also use interferons and interleukins, which are types of proteins called cytokines. These proteins help the immune response against cancer. Interferons are used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, kidney cancer, and melanoma, according to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Interleukins treat kidney cancer and melanomas that have spread throughout the body.

Vaccines in the immunotherapy approach strengthen the immune system. Adoptive cell transfers improve the natural ability of T Cells, a type of white blood cell, to combat cancer.

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Immunotherapy includes colony stimulating factors, a process that boosts the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells in bone marrow. This method often increases low white blood cell counts from chemotherapy.

Researchers continue to work on other immunotherapy methods to improve cancer treatment.

Patients may face side effects from immunotherapy, but the symptoms often subside following the first treatment. Side effects may range from fatigue, high blood pressure, nausea, and diarrhea, to fever, chills, pain, and weakness, depending on the particular type of cancer.

Doctors work with patients on nutrition therapy, pain management, and other factors that may affect people during immunotherapy. When patients learn what immunotherapy is, they are better able to understand how the process fights and treats their conditions.

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What is immunotherapy? It is a range of therapies that boost the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy medication helps the immune system identify abnormal cancer cells so they can be destroyed.
what, is, immunotherapy
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2016-38-13
Monday, 13 Jun 2016 04:38 PM
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