Types of Immunotherapy Treatments

The immune system

The immune system consists of cells, tissues, and organs that work jointly to defend the body from foreign invaders. The human body serves as an ideal environment for many microorganisms. The immune system’s primary job is to keep them out and destroy them.

A cancer cell can escape the immune system because it produces a protein which hides it. The immune system will start to weaken when cancer cells spread into other parts of the body. This can happen in conditions of leukemia or lymphoma where cancer cells enter into the bone marrow which is responsible for producing blood cells.

Immune System and Conventional Treatments

In cases where patients are under chemotherapy or radiotherapy, their immune systems are temporarily weakened,due to drop in the number of white blood cells produced by the bone marrow. High dosages of drugs taken with other therapies may also contribute to the destabilization of the immune system.

Immunotherapy, one of the rising treatments in the modern medical setting, helps cancer patients by simply strengthening the immune system which fights cancer cells, and other infections and diseases. Immunotherapy is a type of Biological therapy which uses living organisms to produce cancer-fighting substances.

Types of Immunotherapy substances

Types of Immunotherapy substances are present depending on the type of cancer cells that are needed to be destroyed.

  • Monoclonal Antibodies are designed to target specific areas of the body. These antibodies can spot cancer cells so the immune system can easily destroy them. This type of monoclonal antibody may be referred to as a targeted therapy.
  • Adoptive cell transfer boosts the innate ability of the T cells to fight cancer. These cells are white blood cells that are parts of the immune system. They are taken from the actual tumor and tested in the lab, which are then isolated to test how they could be able to modify genes to find and destroy cancer cells easily. After the treatment, as a result T cells which were actively grown can be injected back into one’s vein to continuously grow and fight cancerous cells in the patient’s body.  
  • Cytokines are important in the normal immune responses of the body and its ability to fight against cancer. Body’s cell makes these proteins. Two types of cytokines used to treat cancer are interleukins and interferons.
  • Treatment Vaccines do not prevent diseases but are immunity boosters in responding to cancer cells.
  • Bacillus Cametter-Guerin (BCG) is actually a “milder” and “less potent” form of bacteria that causes tuberculosis. It is used to treat bladder cancer and inserted into the bladder with the use of a catheter where it helps the immune system to fight against cancer cells, this is also being tested on other kinds of cancer.


The importance of this is to consider the innate capacity of one’s body to protect its own more than an external cure to the disease. The human body is just like any other system, it has its own “bodyguards” that just need to be maintained and sustained.

The immune system just needs to be strengthened to effectively defend the body against “foreign invaders” to prevent internal conflicts.


Image by WikiImages / CC BY 2.0