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February 27, 2023

A Crash Course To Immunotherapy



Going through sickness is relatively the same for a lot of people. You contract a virus, get it from somebody you’ve interacted with, or simply be exposed to the wrong environment. Once such a virus enters your body, your immune system is triggered. This is because viruses are considered alien or foreign objects by your body, and it doesn’t want any part of it. This is a natural immune response, as your body is naturally equipped with a comprehensive and responsive immune system.

Do you remember that time when you got a fever and your temperature soared through the roof? Well, that’s your body’s way of purging the virus and flushing it out! This is important because, without our immune system, we would be susceptible to a multitude of diseases and viruses that could easily kill us. It’s very different with cancer, however. Since cancer is a disease that makes your cells mutate and goes undetected by your immune system, it’s a very different and complicated case.

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As cancer cells metabolize, multiply, and grow; they could go undetected until they become malignant and start attacking your body. Since they are mutations of your pre-existing cells, your immune system has a hard time identifying which cells to kill and which ones to save. This is very important because your own white blood cells (a proponent of your immune system) need a specific target to lock on to. This is where immunotherapy and an immunotherapy clinic could be the best options to consider. Let’s first talk about what immunotherapy is and explore how it could help those who have cancer.


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What is immunotherapy, and why is it beneficial?

Immunotherapy is essentially a method of treatment that could help with cancer cases. This takes a very different approach from chemotherapy, which is the conventional way of handling such cancer. While chemotherapy blasts a specific area and tries to kill the cancer cells, immunotherapy is a biological method that stokes your immune system itself to do the job. For example, you have a patient with skin cancer. Whereas chemotherapy essentially blasts compromised compromised parts of your skin (leading to a very weak immune system and a damaged body), immunotherapy takes a different approach. It starts by taking a sample of your skin cancer cells and manipulating them inside a laboratory. They then use substances that will stoke your immune system to its full potential, helping it find the cancer cells to attack.

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People with cancer have a very weak immune system. Sometimes, they could also have very strong immune systems to the point that the white blood cells attack the body. Immunotherapy helps in both cases, as it does not only activate your immune system but also suppresses it in necessary cases. Because of that, immunotherapy is a very versatile type of treatment that can be used alone or in tandem with chemotherapy. Moreover, immunotherapy actually trains your immune system to find out and target cancer cells better. For the longest time, the hardest part of curing cancer is trying to single out cancer cells and leave your normal organ system alone. This is simply not possible with the current technology, such as chemotherapy.

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Immunotherapy, however, is a step in the right direction. This is because you don’t have to destroy your immune system forever to try and abate cancer. It’s also less invasive than chemotherapy since you’d only be introducing substances that could help your immune system detect, kill, and eliminate cancer in the body altogether. This is certainly a very positive note and a step forward, so it’s important for researchers and scientists alike to fund more studies into immunotherapy. Although it’s a bit more novel method, immunotherapy certainly has its place in cancer treatment.



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