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Fighting Cancer with Immunotherapy

Thursday, February 16, 2017 19:36
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Immunity and the human body is a complex and powerful system. Our body can fight off infinite invaders, yet more than 30 trillion cells can alarm our healthy cells. 

Cancer is more common today than it was previously. The cancer cells essentially create signals of cell death for all undamaged cells in the body. That is, all healthy cells of our body are made to undergo damaging procedures, which destroy the normal physiological processes of organs and tissues. 

Immunotherapy will help in maximizing the body’s natural defense mechanisms, and researchers are in the course of developing a well-working cure. Mostly, animals are being tested, and clinical trials are taking place. Drugs are allowing us to boost immunity and destroy cancerous cells as a result. 

At the dawn of 2017, studies are pairing immunologic therapies and modified viruses that will weaken the role and action of cancer cells. The results are quite promising, and science is on the road to defeat cancer. 

The Immune System

Viruses and Bacteria are constantly trying to infect the body, and this is when the immune system potentiates its actions. Antibodies are produced, and these bind to the antigens of the invader cell. Cancer cells produce antigens, but antibodies do not bind to these cells or attack them. The reason is the hijacking action of the invaders, and the regular checkpoints are bypassed. 

Immunotherapy educates the immune system to produce antibodies that bind to cancer cells, thus blocking growth-promotion of antigenic proteins. It flags these hijackers and recognizes them for their destructive properties. Although we are all aware of the benefits of exercise, it is good to recap the positive outcomes of regular exercise as well. A significant number of diseases are preventable with walking and running daily, in addition to a healthy lifestyle. 


The one positive aspect of immunology drugs is the lab made antibodies. These drugs will bind to cancer cells and kill them. Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody, binds to Human Epidermal growth factor Recepter-2, which is found mostly in breast cancer. It principally triggers an immune reaction in these breast cancer cells. 

Viruses and Vaccines

Studies are in process across the globe, and single shot vaccines may be successful at triggering cancer killing processes. These vaccines/immunizations are carefully engineered synthetically and train the immune system to identify the cancer cell antigens; these will efficiently inoculate the patient, and will ideally cost less than $1500 per patient. The idea is being tested, in particular against the breast cancer cells. 

If these trials are successful, the environment will be more suitable for the T cells (Cytotoxic and helper T cells help in cell-mediated immunity). It is important to note that with immunizations, the patients themselves make antibodies. The sides effects and toxicity is minimal. 

Viruses are also being trained to attack cancer cells. These can destroy the tumor, cause them to explode violently. Oncolytic viral therapy comes into play here and can create a robust defense mechanism.

Viruses, cancer drugs, and immunotherapy are the three central categories of focus, that can infuse the body’s immune cells. 

Immunotherapy does not operate on a one size fits all mechanism, and various patients respond differently to treatment. It is necessary that we try constantly, and identify the specific changes there are in tissues. Biomarkers ought to be monitored. Potent oncolytic viruses are also to be created in higher concentrations. One tricky aspect of this is not destroying the body’s healthy cells. Our knowledge is growing, and medical research has advanced tremendously.

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