How Does Immunotherapy Work?
One immediate goal of research in cancer immunology is the development of methods to harness and enhance the body's natural tendency to defend it against malignant tumors. Immunotherapy represents a new and powerful weapon in the arsenal of anticancer treatments.
Studies indicate that immunotherapy may work in the following ways:
- Strengthens the immune system
- Produces anti-cancer activity
- Reduces side effects from other cancer treatments
- Improves quality of life
Cytokine is a generic term for a large variety of regulatory proteins produced and secreted by cells and used to communicate with other cells.
Cytokines are diverse and potent chemical messengers secreted by the cells of the immune system. They are the chief communication signals of T cells. Cytokines include interleukins, growth factors, and interferons. Interferons and interleukins are examples of the first immunotherapies for cancer developed decades ago.