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What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses someone’s own immune system to fight an illness or disease. It is most commonly used in the treatment of cancer.

Immunotherapy works by boosting someone’s immune system or changing how the immune system works to more effectively find and attack cancer cells.

Immunotherapy may also involve lab-made substances similar to the immune systems components. These substances can help restore or improve the immune system’s ability to find and attack cancer cells.

Different types of immunotherapies include:

  • immunomodulators
  • checkpoint inhibitors
  • monoclonal antibodies
  • chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-Cell therapy
  • cancer vaccines
  • cytokines
  • oncolytic viruses

Different types of immunotherapies work best with certain kinds of cancers. For example, CAR T-cell therapy is used for blood cancers, while monoclonal antibodies are FDA approved to treat bladder cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and others.

Why is immunotherapy important for healthcare?

Immunotherapy is a first-line cancer treatment most often used in cases where the cancer has spread (metastasized). It aids the immune system and increases its ability to find and attack cancer cells. It may be effective for cancers that are unresponsive to traditional treatments or returned after previous treatment.