Chasing Away Childhood Cancer

What is Cancer Immunotherapy?

What is Cancer Immunotherapy?

As some of you may know June is national Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month. In light of that, Chase After a Cure has decided to educate the public about what immunotherapy is, and how researchers are working to develop the treatment. Basically, it’s a new class of cancer treatment that works to harness the innate powers of the immune system to fight cancer. Because of the immune system’s unique properties, these therapies may hold greater potential than current treatment approaches to fight cancer. It is considered more powerful, offers longer-term protection against the disease, and comes with fewer side effects. Cancer develops in three separate phases and outcomes:

1. Elimination- The immune system detects and destroys cancer cells as they develop, eliminating them before they form tumors and threaten a person’s health.

2. Equilibrium- The immune system has destroyed some cancer cells, while others less “visible” to the immune system remain, and the two go into a state of equilibrium.

3. Escape- The remaining cancer cells overcome the immune system and start to multiply, forming clinically detectable tumors. At this stage the immune system is unable to control cancer growth on its own.

The goal of immunotherapy is to give the immune system the upper hand in fighting cancer and restore its ability to eliminate cancer cells. The goal is to reach a complete, and long-lasting cure for all patients. It works in four ways:

1. Target- Show the immune system cancer-specific targets, called “antigens”.

2. Activate- Give the immune system “danger signals”, to mobilize it to seek out the cancer targets.

3. Sustain- Introduce agents that overcome immune suppression.

4. Cure- Targeted, powerful, and durable immune attack that can eliminate cancer, potentially indefinitely.

Source: is-cancer- immunotherapy