How Your Immune System Fights Cancer
Immunotherapy, a type of biological therapy, is a cancer treatment that stimulates the immune system and helps it identify and fight cancerous cells in the body. Immunotherapy makes use of the body’s natural substances or synthetic substances that mimic those that our bodies naturally produce.
Types of Immunotherapy
Bassett Cancer Institute uses immunotherapy as part of several cancer treatment options. Our oncologists utilize:
- Monoclonal antibodies, which identify cancer cells and alert the immune system that these cells are dangerous invaders that should be eliminated
- Adoptive cell transfer, also called T-cell therapy, to help T-cells destroy the cancerous cells within a tumor
- Cytokines, either interferons (proteins released in response to a virus) or interleukins (proteins that help stimulate immunity), that work together to strengthen the immune system on a cellular level
- Cancer vaccines to strengthen the immune system as a whole. Cancer vaccines may be used to prevent certain cancers, such as cervical cancer or human papillomavirus (HPV)
The type of immunotherapy you receive at Bassett Healthcare Network will depend on both your cancer type and stage. Immunotherapy is often performed in treating lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphoma, and melanoma. While immunotherapy is not an option for all forms of cancer, it is sometimes available as part of a clinical trial.
Some immunotherapy drugs are given in pill form. Monoclonal antibodies are most often administered through an IV.
Learn if Immunotherapy is an Option for You
Immunotherapy is a form of cancer care that harnesses the power of your own immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. If you have a cancer diagnosis, ask your primary care practitioner or specialist if immunotherapy is available for treating your type of cancer.
Bassett Healthcare Network uses immunotherapy in Central New York, including its facilities in Cobleskill, Oneonta, Herkimer, Cooperstown, Little Falls, Delhi, and other locations.