When it comes to cancer protocols, you’ve probably heard the word immunotherapy as a possible treatment option. This therapy taps your body’s own resources to help you combat cancer, and is often a great adjunct to other therapies, as well as a standalone treatment. At South Carolina’s Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates, the oncologists turn to immunotherapy quite often in order to arm their patients in Charleston, West Ashley, Mt. Pleasant, and the surrounding areas, with every cancer-fighting tool available. If you want to explore your options in immunotherapy, call to schedule a consultation today.
Immunotherapy, which is also called biologic therapy, has gained considerable traction over the past several decades as an important treatment protocol for fighting certain cancers. The concept behind this therapy is to use your body’s own powerful immune system to fight off cancer-causing cells, as well as give it the tools necessary to better protect your health.
Immunotherapy is continually evolving as medical researchers explore the applications of this treatment, harnessing, and boosting, certain components in your immune system to target cancer cells.
Your immune system does a great job scanning your body for foreign invaders, attacking when it detects something out of the ordinary. The problem is that cancer cells are often outside of its frame of reference and your body is unsure about how, and whether, to attack. With immunotherapy, the goal is to train your body to recognize these cells as harmful, prompting it to defend itself.
There are several different types of immunotherapies that the doctors at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates use, including:
Using man-made proteins, your doctor introduces antibodies into your system to fight your disease.
These therapies include CAR T-cell therapy, which is short for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell. Your doctor may use this therapy if you have lymphoma or leukemia. Another example is T-cell receptor therapy, where your doctor reprograms the T cells in your blood to fight cancer. Lastly, your doctor may use tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, which are cells in your body that are already fighting the disease. With this method, your doctor reproduces these cells and adds them to your existing ones.
This therapy encourages your immune system to attack cancer cells.
Much like traditional vaccines, your doctor introduces small amounts of the cancer to help your body recognize it as dangerous and build antibodies to fight it off.
Some immunotherapies are more general and work to strengthen your immune system overall, helping it better ward off cancer.
The applications of immunotherapies are constantly evolving and there are hundreds of ongoing trials to explore their efficacy. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates sits down with you to review your treatment options, including immunotherapy, to give you the best chances of success.
If you’d like to learn more about the potential of immunotherapy, call Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates to schedule a consultation.