Some of our most innovative treatments involve immunotherapy.

Cancer immunotherapy is an exciting and relatively new approach to cancer treatment that directs a patient’s immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells. The idea of using the body’s natural defense mechanisms to fight cancer has been around for more than a century but only recently has our understanding of how cancer and the immune system interact made it possible for immunotherapy to be successful.

Immunotherapy works by either turning on a person’s immune system to attack cancer cells or by producing and administering key components of the immune system to boost cancer immunity.

Let’s familiarize you with some of the therapies used.

Several of these new therapies are now regarded as a first-line treatment for some cancers alongside the traditional approaches of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Even with some immunotherapy treatments available, more are currently being tested in a large number of clinical trials. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is at the forefront of many of these clinical trials including the testing of unique cancer immunotherapeutic approaches developed at Holden.

Monoclonal Antibodies

These are human-made versions of immune system proteins that boost the natural immune response.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

These medicines help the immune system to kill cancer cells by making it more difficult for cancer cells to avoid the immune system.

Cancer Vaccines

These medicines are put into the body to start an immune response against cancer.

Cellular Therapy

This approach involves taking immune cells out of the body and manipulating them so they are more effective at fighting the cancer. One form of cellular therapy is chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.