How does immunotherapy work?

How does immunotherapy work?

Immunotherapy: How the Immune System Fights Cancer

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answers (2)

Answer 1
April, 2021

The immunotherapeutic approach combines a set of measures to normalize the immune response, which implies both stimulation and reduction of hyperfunction - according to individual indications.

This set of measures includes funds and drugs to increase immunity: immunomodulators, immunostimulants and immunocorrectors.

Immunomodulators and immunocorrectors are prescribed in therapeutic doses in order to normalize one or another component of the immune defense:

  • subcomponents of T- and B-cell immunity,
  • phagocytosis,
  • complement,
  • cellular immunity,
  • humoral immunity, etc.

But no immunomodulator acts absolutely selectively, and to one degree or another, all links of the immune response chain will be affected.

More safe means that have a less active immunotropic effect - medicinal immunostimulants, herbs, preparations, food additives, adjuvants and other drugs of a biological or chemical nature.

Detailed information on various approaches to restoring and increasing immunity read Immunity Boosting: Therapeutic Approaches for Safe Immunotherapy and Immunoprophylaxis.

Answer 2
April, 2021

Immunotherapy is based on the effect of drugs on the immune system in order to teach it to detect cancer cells. It is used for melanoma, kidney cancer, lung cancer, and many other cancers.

Immunotherapy prevents tumor cells from resisting the immune system. Normally, the immune system kills everything foreign or just suspicious, but tumor cells can pretend to be “good” or “trick” the immune system is turned off.

On the surface of T-lymphocytes (cells of the immune system) there are special proteins codenamed PD -1 and CTLA-4. These are called checkpoints. For immunity, it's like brakes for a car. And tumor cells are able to influence them, "press the brakes" so that the immune system is inactive. Immunotherapy drugs can turn off these brakes: the T-lymphocyte “starts up” and attacks the cancer cell. Or the drug blocks another protein (PD-L1), which hides the tumor from the attention of the immune system.

In addition, in the laboratory, the patient's own T-lymphocytes can be "trained" to recognize tumor cells. To do this, T-lymphocytes are isolated from the patient's blood, and after "training" they are returned to the body so that they find and destroy tumor cells. This type of immunotherapy is called CAR-T, or T-cell therapy.

A significant result of courses of immunological antitumor effects was first demonstrated in skin melanoma, which sluggishly responds to aggressive chemotherapy. Then the indications were extended to non-small cell lung cancer, insensitive to cytostatics.

Monoclonal antibodies were also introduced into the first line of therapy for kidney cancer. They showed a completely unattainable result with standard chemotherapy. Today, clinical trials are studying immuno-oncological drugs for many malignant neoplasms resistant to classical chemotherapy and hormonal effects.

For more information about immunotherapy, please follow the links:

  • Immunotherapy
  • Cancer immunotherapy. How does it work?

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