Immunotherapy is used as an alternative treatment method for cancer. It is used to stimulate body’s own immune system through manmade immune system components such as synthetic proteins. It stimulates the patient’s immune system to attack the malignant tumor so that they are destroyed or their spread is prevented.  Therapeutic antibodies are also given to patients in form of drugs. Some immunotherapy methods boost body’s immune system and some train the immune system to attack cancer cells in particular way.

It may be used as a sole treatment method for treatment of some cancers while it can be used along with conventional treatment for treatment of other cancers.

There are few benefits of this method.

  • It can be used in most types of cancers as sole or complementary treatment method.
    • There is no collateral harm to the patient in this method.
    • There are no long term side effects.
    • The short term side effects are very mild as compared to conventional methods.
    • The response has been also seen in patients who have tried all other methods.

Types of Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses different types of therapeutic methods.  Some immunotherapy methods are as follows-

Monoclonal antibodies

 

This immunotherapy method involves infusion of man-made versions of immune system proteins in the patient’s body. They help in treatment by attacking very specific part of a cancer cell.

Monoclonal antibodies used in cancer treatments are of two types. First one is Naked mAbs antibodies and the other one is Conjugated mAbs antibodies. Naked mAbs antibodies work on their own. Whereas Conjugated mAbs are joined with a chemotherapy drug, radioactive particle, or a toxic substance.

Cell Based Immunotherapy

Rosenberg and his Colleagues of NIH,USA introduced adoptive cell based immunotherapy first. It is one of the widely used immunotherapy method. It isolates either allogenic or autologous immune cells. They are then enriched in lab and again put into patient’s body. These cells help fighting cancer as they are highly cytotoxic to the Cancer cells.

Radio Immune Therapy

It is immunotherapy method, which uses radioactive substances. Radioactive substances are used jointly with antibodies. Researches are going on radio immune therapy. Most of them are studying lymphomas, highly radio-sensitive malignancies.

Cancer vaccines

 

Cancer vaccines are used to start an immune response in the body against diseases. Cancer vaccines are used not only to prevent cancer but also to treat cancer.

Non-specific Immunotherapy

There are non- specific immunotherapy treatments methods, which boost the immune system in a very general way.

Where to Find Treatment?

In USA, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons accredits facilities, voluntarily committing to provide top class diagnosis and treatment of cancer. They have to meet CoC standards. Patients can choose any of these facilities for cancer treatment through immunotherapy.

The National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Program

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center Program chooses centers that are involved in research to reduce cancer rates and deaths from cancer. These centers also provide immunotherapy treatment for cancer.

Members of the Association of American Cancer Institutes

Members of the Association of American Cancer Institute are also providing immunotherapy treatment. More information about them can be collected from Website of Association of American Cancer Institute.