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Why Immunotherapy Is Important

Why Immunotherapy Is Important

The immune system is a very important component of health. It helps promote wellness, prevent illness, and fight disease. It is thought that cancer may develop if the immune system breaks down or is not functioning adequately. This theory is still being actively explored and researched.

Immunotherapies represent important progress in cancer research and treatment. Immunotherapy may one day be considered a fourth modality in conventional cancer treatment along with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Today, immunotherapy is sometimes given in combination with other conventional cancer treatments and sometimes as the primary therapeutic modality.

Immunotherapy is used in two major ways

Anticancer activity

An important goal of immunotherapy is to help the immune system recognize cancer cells as non-self instead of self.

  • In immunotherapy, some immune cells kill cancer directly, and others help activate specific immune cells to kill cancer cells.
  • Research indicates that, more than any other system in the body, a major mechanism of regulation by the immune system is apoptosis, or the programmed death of cancer cells.
Supportive treatments
  • Immunotherapy is also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments.

What other terms are used for biological therapies?

  • Interferons and other cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • Tumor necrosis factor
  • Biological response modifiers
  • Biological therapies
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Growth factors

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