Understanding the Different Types of Immunotherapy
When you have cancer, immunotherapy is one of the cutting-edge treatment options you have. There are many different forms of immunotherapy, and each one works to find invasive cancer cells and destroy them. Each form of immunotherapy can help different types of cancer.
At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our expert team of five oncologists and hematologists offers state-of-the-art treatments for just about every form of cancer. The team is proud to provide immunotherapy as an option for many of our cancer patients who are looking for hope during their fight with cancer.
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is a modern technology that uses your immune system to fight off certain types of cancer and cancer cells. It can either boost the overall health of your immune system or help it work more efficiently.
Immunotherapy has been used to treat various types of cancer. The team at Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology use this form of therapy to treat cancers such as:
- Liver cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Bladder cancer
It’s also used for head and neck cancers, along with colon cancer and prostate cancer. While immunotherapy is a very versatile treatment, it’s not for everyone. Our team helps you determine if this is a viable treatment option for your specific condition.
What are the different types of immunotherapy?
There are many forms of immunotherapy, each of which works differently to enhance your immune system’s ability to seek out and destroy cancer cells. The forms of immunotherapy our team offers include:
T-cell transfer therapy
This form of immunotherapy helps your T-cells find and kill cancer cells more easily. Our doctors extract powerful immune cells that are attached to your tumor or cancer cells. They then take them to the lab, and find the strongest T-cells. The team multiplies these cells in the lab, and injects them back into the tumor to destroy it.
Antibodies are made by your immune system to find and destroy antigens, or invaders in your body. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab, specifically for the antigens that are attached to cancer cells. Once they attach to the cancer antigens, your immune system can find and destroy those cells.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors
Immune checkpoints are in place to keep your immune system from attacking healthy cells when fighting off an invader. However, cancer cells sometimes turn these checkpoints on where they shouldn’t be, allowing the cells to spread.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are treatments that turn off some of your immune system’s checkpoints, which allows it to seek out the cancer cells and destroy them.
Cancer vaccines are similar to the other vaccines you receive for things like the flu or tetanus, which helps prevent these illnesses. Treatment vaccines use proteins from cancer cells or dead cancer cells to trigger an immune response from your body.
Immune system modulators
This form of immunotherapy basically gives your immune system a large boost. This works, because a strong immune system works better to fight off invaders, such as cancer cells. Examples of immune system modulators or interleukins and interferons.
Each form of immunotherapy works differently on your body to fight off tumors or cancer cells. The specific type of immunotherapy you need depends on your overall health, the type of cancer you have, and what other treatments you’ve tried.
Is everyone a candidate for immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is a modern treatment option for those needing new hope in their cancer treatment. However, it’s not made for every case of cancer. You may be considered for immunotherapy if you have:
- Advanced cancer
- Exhausted other treatment options
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Biomarkers positive for PD-L1
- High tumor mutational burden
- High microsatellite instability
There are a lot of up-and-coming cancer treatments, many of which our team offers to you. If you’re struggling with cancer, the team at Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology provides expert immunotherapy consults to determine what the best course of treatment is for your type and stage of cancer.
If you’d like to learn more about how immunotherapy can help you, don’t hesitate to call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our expert doctors today.