You’ve Heard the Term Immunotherapy, What Is It?

Published On: 2 August 2023By

Invoking a natural immune response to combat illness and disease is the primary goal of immunotherapy, which is also known as biological therapy or biological response modifier therapy. Although immunotherapy is commonly associated with cancer treatment, it has also shown promise in treating illnesses resulting from inflammation, infection, and autoimmune conditions.

This article aims to provide an overview of immunotherapy, including its mechanisms of action, various types of treatments and the conditions they are designed to target. Please note that the information provided is for general knowledge only and should not be interpreted as medical advice or opinion.

The Body’s Natural Response and How It Relates to Immunotherapy

Biological Response Modifiers (BRMs) are substances that are naturally produced in that they can stimulate or enhance the immune system’s ability to fight diseases such as cancer, infections, and autoimmune disorders. BRMs work by modifying the way the immune system interacts with cells in the body, either by enhancing or suppressing immune function. Examples of BRMs include cytokines, monoclonal antibodies and oncolytic viruses. BRM’s are often stimulated in immunotherapy to help boost the immune system’s response to diseased cells.

Immunotherapy Treatments

There are various types of immunotherapy treatments, including:

Monoclonal Antibodies: These are lab-made immune system proteins that can be designed to attack specific targets on diseased cells or other cells.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: These drugs block certain proteins that help cancer cells evade the immune system, allowing the immune system to attack the cancer cells more effectively.

Adoptive Cell Transfer: This involves removing T cells from a patient’s body, genetically modifying them to attack diseased cells, and then infusing them back into the patient.

Oncolytic Virus Therapy: This treatment involves injecting a virus into the tumor, which can then replicate and destroy cancer cells.

Cancer Vaccines: These vaccines are designed to help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.

Non-Specific Immunomodulation: This involves using drugs or other agents to stimulate the immune system in a non-specific way, rather than targeting specific cells.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy: This involves genetically modifying a patient’s T cells to recognize and attack cells expressing a specific antigen.

These treatments can be used alone or in combination with other.

Conditions treated by immunotherapy

Cancer: Immunotherapy is often used to treat various types of cancers, including melanoma, lung cancer, bladder cancer, and more.

Inflammatory Diseases: Immunotherapy can also be used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease.

Autoimmune Diseases: Diseases that result from an overactive immune system, such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and Type 1 diabetes, can be treated using immunotherapy.

Infectious Diseases: Immunotherapy has been used to treat infectious diseases like hepatitis B and C, and even HIV.

What role do immunosuppressant’s play?

Immunosuppressant’s are drugs that suppress or weaken the immune system’s response to a foreign invader such as an infection or transplanted organ. These drugs are commonly used to prevent the body’s immune system from attacking transplanted organs, such as in the case of a liver, kidney, or heart transplant. They can also be used to treat autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis, where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues in the body. Immunosuppressant’s work by inhibiting the activation and proliferation of immune cells, such as T cells and B cells, which are responsible for the body’s immune response.