Targeted cancer therapies work by directly interacting with molecules that aid the growth and spread of cancer cells. Non-specific immunotherapy for cancer acts behind the scenes to bolster the immune system’s ability to fight cancer cells.
Types of Non-Specific Cancer Immunotherapy
Some non-specific therapies are administered on their own, while others are used as adjutants, which means they are used to supplement a main treatment such as a cancer vaccine. A few therapies are used in both ways, depending on the form of cancer being treated.
- Cytokines are chemicals produced by certain immune cells that play an important role in the growth and activity of other immune cells. They are divided into interleukins, which speed up growth and division of immune cells, and interferons, which aid the body in resisting cancer as well as viral infections.
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors help the immune system identify cancer cells that use certain proteins to evade detection.
- Immunomodulating drugs (IMiDs) such as thalidomide, lenalidomide and pomalidomide appear to give a general boost to the immune system, although at present it’s not known exactly how they work.
- Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is a germ that triggers the immune system by infecting tissue, although it doesn’t present a threat of serious disease. BCG is one of the earliest forms of immunotherapy for cancer.
Issels® Uses Both Targeted and Non-Specific Immunotherapy
As a leader in the field of immunotherapy for cancer, Issels® uses advanced methods such as vaccines and LAK cells in our individually tailored treatment protocols. Contact us to learn more about how immunotherapy may be the answer for you.