What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. This can be done in a couple of ways:

  • Stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells
  • Giving you immune system components such as man-made immune system proteins

Immunotherapy includes treatments that work in different ways. Some boost the body’s immune system in a very general way while others help train the immune system to attack cancer cells specifically.

Immunotherapy works better for some types of cancer than for others. It’s used by itself for some of these cancers, but for others it seems to work better when used along with other types of treatment.


Types of Cancer Immunotherapy:

The main types of immunotherapy now being used to treat cancer include:

  • Monoclonal antibodiesThese are man-made versions of immune system proteins. Antibodies can be very useful in treating cancer because they can be designed to attack a very specific part of a cancer cell.
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors: These drugs basically take the ‘brakes’ off the immune system, which helps it recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Other, non-specific immunotherapies: These treatments boost the immune system in a general way, but this can still help the immune system attack cancer cells.

To learn even more about immunotherapy, visit our news article: Everything You Need to Know About Immunotherapy.