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  • Aida Sandy Sree

Immunotherapy, Simplified


Inside your body, your immune system works hard to keep diseases at bay. It is made up of a large network of organs and cells (white blood) that produce proteins and chemicals to fight off foreign particles. Under ideal conditions, your immune system can tell which cells and substances are beneficial to your body and which one’s aren’t. Once a toxic particle is identified, your body produces proteins known as antibodies that fight and kill bacteria. Through this whole process you gain immunity, which means your body will be prepared to fight of that same infection or disease if it were to occur again.


The immune system can prevent growth of cancer cells, and even destroy some of them. However, cancerous cells have ways to evade the immune system and interfere with how the immune system responds to cancer. Some cancer cells have proteins on their surface that ‘turn off’ immune cells, while some undergo genetic changes to make themselves less visible to the immune system.


Immunotherapy is defined as the prevention or treatment of disease with substances that stimutale the immune response.Essentially, immunotherapy activates or suppresses the immune system in order to facilitate better response to diseases. Immunotherapy is a type of biological treatment that helps the patient’s own immune system grow stonger to fight cancer.


Immunotherapy usually either stimulates your immune response to make it more effective, or introduces lab-grown cells to replace defective immune cells. While strengthening the immune response, doctors found that this increases the chances of the immune system identifying cancerous cells and curbing their growth. There are different types of immunotherapies that are usually administered through methods of infusion, like injections or oral ingestion.


Scientists are constantly developing and researching to figure out ways in which immunotherapy can be administered to increase efficiency and recovery rates. Right now, immunotherapy has been approved for several types of cancer including but not limited to, cervical cancer, bladder cancer, brain cancer, stomach cancer, and more.


The effectiveness of immunotherapies depends on the type of cancer, and stage along with external factors. Some side effects of immunotherapy include flu-like symptoms, nausea, swelling, and redness. Sometimes strengthening the immune system affects it negatively, making it turn on and fight even health cells. However, these complications can be curbed with regulated dosage and professional guidance.


 

Sources:

https://www.cancerresearch.org/what-is-immunotherapy

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/immunotherapy

https://www.cancerresearch.org/what-is-immunotherapy


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