“Immune checkpoint inhibitors” is a term increasingly heard in reference to advancements in immunotherapy for cancer. These drugs have shown the ability to aid your body’s own immune system in attacking and killing cancer cells.
Lifting the Disguise from Cancer Cells
Think of checkpoints as your internal customs agents. Checkpoint proteins help the immune system differentiate between normal cells and foreign cells, then trigger a defensive response against the invaders.
Cancer cells sometimes have larger amounts of proteins than found in normal cells, which provide a camouflage allowing them to grow and divide without interference from the immune system. Checkpoint inhibitors target the appropriate proteins, removing the “mask” so the immune system can do its job.
Types of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
PD-1, which is found on T-cells, acts as a checkpoint by binding itself to another protein called PD-L1, letting the T-cells know they should leave the other cells alone.
- Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) target PD-1 on the T-cells.
- Atezolizumab (Tecentriq) targets PD-L1, the protein that helps cancer cells evade the immune system.
- Ipilimumab (Yervoy) targets CTLA-4, another protein found on T-cells.
These drugs have been successfully used to treat kidney cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-small cell lung cancer. Research continues on other types of cancer, using these drugs independently as well as in combination with other drugs.
Issels®: A Pioneer in Immunotherapy for Cancer
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are just one of the cutting-edge treatments used at Issels®. Our individually designed protocols may also include cancer vaccines and activation of natural killer cells. Contact us to learn more about our non-toxic, state-of-the-art protocols.