Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the body's immune system to help fight cancer. After decades of research modern immunotherapy has become widely used to treat a growing list of cancers.
There are a number of different types of immunotherapy but at this time, they generally fall into one of two categories, monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. These treatments work by training the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.
Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that fight things like viruses, bacteria, and cancers that the body perceives as harmful. In cancer treatment our immune systems often don't recognize that the cancer is present. Monoclonal refers to multiple copies of the exact same antibody. In the context of cancer treatment, monoclonal antibodies are bioengineered to help the immune system take action against cancer by unmasking it and initiating the immune system to attack.
An active area of cancer research involves the use of vaccines that help prevent or treat cancer. At the present time, there is only one approved cancer vaccine, Provenger for prostate cancer. There are others in active development and we anticipate more to follow. Cancer Care has tested for several years Lucanix, a vaccine for lung cancer as part of our research program.