Monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, are proteins that take advantage of the difference between cancer cells and normal cells. Scientists are exploring ways to make mAbs even more powerful, such as attaching them to drugs or other substances, while making them less likely to trigger an immune response. They are also working on combining mAbs for a more focused attack on tumors.
T-cells, which are part of the immune system, have long been a major subject of immunotherapy research. Recent trials involve removing T-cells from a patient, genetically adding CARs (chimeric antigen receptors), then returning them to the patient’s blood, where they can more precisely target cancer cells. This method has shown particularly promising results in cases featuring advanced forms of leukemia and lymphoma.
Another approach using T-cells centers on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) found deep within tumors. The TILs are removed from tumor samples and treated with interleukin-2 so they multiply rapidly. Once injected back into the patient, the TILs are better equipped to fight cancer cells.
Issels®: A Pioneer in Immunotherapy Treatments
In our next post, we’ll continue our look at the latest updates on research centering on immunotherapy for cancer. Contact us to learn more about how Issels® has been a leader in personalized, non-toxic immunotherapy protocols.
Researchers have developed many new ways to treat cancer, and immunotherapy for cancer has played a large role in their discoveries. Here at Issels®, we’re proud to provide immunotherapy for cancer to our patients as a treatment alternative to chemotherapy and radiation.
In recent discoveries, extensive research has been conducted on Monoclonal Antibodies (MAbs) and the important role they play in treating cancer.
Understanding Antibodies and Their Role in the Body
When your body detects a foreign substance – whether it’s cancer cells or a common infection – your immune system immediately goes to work creating antibodies to fight what doesn’t belong in its environment. The foreign substance is called an antigen, and antibodies will search until it’s been found. Once it’s found, your immune system attacks it.
Researchers have found that by isolating certain antibodies and then reproducing them in a laboratory setting, they are able to target specific cancer cells.
How Monoclonal Antibodies are used in Immunotherapy for Cancer
Just as there are many different types of antigens, there are many types of cancers. MAbs have been shown to be effective against certain types of cancer. The challenge has been that the MAbs must be tailored to go after the right antigen, and that is causing a delay in using this treatment for all types of cancer.
Even so, research is ongoing and experts are hopeful that this new protocol might bring us one step closer to finding a cure.
One of the drawbacks of conventional chemotherapy treatments is that the drugs kill both cancer cells and healthy cells indiscriminately. Targeted cancer therapy has been a valuable breakthrough in focusing treatment directly on cancer cells while sparing healthy ones.
Targeted Cancer Therapy: A Major Step Forward
Standard chemotherapy drugs go after cells with rapid growth and division. Problems arise because that can also be a trait of certain normal cells, and the drugs can’t tell the difference between the two.
Targeted cancer therapy is technically a form of chemo, but the way it works is more closely aligned with immunotherapy for cancer, which aids the body’s natural immune response. Instead of attacking cells globally, targeted therapy zeroes in on the gene changes that distinguish cancer cells from healthy ones.
How Does Targeted Therapy Attack Cancer Cells?
Targeted drugs have a number of “weapons” in their cancer-fighting arsenal. Some essentially starve cancer cells by cutting off blood vessel production or altering proteins within the cells. Others work in tandem with the immune system, alerting it to the presence of cancer cells that might otherwise escape detection.
While targeted cancer therapy comes with some side effects, they are generally fewer and less serious than the ones that accompany chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is sometimes used on its own, but more often it’s used in combination with conventional chemo, radiation or other treatments.
State-of-the-Art Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®
At Issels®, our individually tailored treatment programs include targeted therapy, cancer vaccines and other cutting-edge techniques to work with your body’s immune system. Contact us to learn more about our non-toxic protocols.