IMMUNOTHERAPY

Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body's natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function.

Immunotherapy may work by:

  • Stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Stopping cancer from spreading to other parts of the body
  • Helping the immune system work better at destroying cancer cells
  • Types of immunotherapies
    • 1.Immune checkpoint therapy helps cancer-fighting immune cells, called T cells, mount a longer-lasting response against the cancer. Eg.Pembrolizumab, Nivolumab, Atezolizumab, Ipilimumab.
    • 2.Adoptive cellular therapy increases the number and/or effectiveness of immune cells, usually T cells, which improves the power of the immune response against the cancer.
    There are three main types of adoptive cellular therapy:
    • a.Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy gives patients large amounts of T cells that are all genetically engineered to find and fight the cancer.
    • b.Tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy uses a patient’s T cells that are collected from a piece of surgically-removed tumor. While these cells may recognize the cancer, there are too few of them to succeed. The number of these cells is increased substantially in the lab and then given back to the patient.
    • c.Endogenous T-cell (ETC) therapy uses T cells from a patient’s blood. From this diverse pool of T cells, doctors select only those that may recognize signatures specific to the cancer. The number of these specific T cells is increased substantially and then given back to the patient.
  • Cancer vaccines help the body recognize cancer cells and stimulate the immune system to destroy them. Eg Sipuleucel-T in prostate cancer.
  • 3.Cytokine therapy relies on proteins called interferons and interleukins to trigger an immune response. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is used to treat kidney cancers and melanomas that have spread to other regions of the body. Interferon alpha (IFN-alpha) is currently being used to treat melanoma, kidney cancer and certain leukemias and lymphomas.
    At Vydehi Cancer Centre, the latest therapies - Immune checkpoint blockade therapies like Pembrolizumab, Nivolumab are being given to the patients.