Immunotherapy for Cancer

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Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to treat an illness. This type of treatment can restore, boost, or redirect the immune system.

Immunotherapy is a type of biotherapy. Biotherapy uses living substances to treat disease. The substance may be a natural part of the body. Or it may be made by a lab, rather than by nature. For example, DNA or an antibody could be used in biotherapy.

Immunotherapy used to treat cancer includes medicines based on natural proteins and vaccines.

Medicines based on natural proteins include:

  • Interferons.
  • Interleukins.
  • Monoclonal antibodies.

Vaccines may be used to treat people who already have cancer. Or they may be used to protect people from getting some forms of cancer. Vaccines include:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
  • Bacillus Calmette-Guerin.
  • Sipuleucel-T.

Current as of: May 12, 2017

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Jimmy Ruiz, MD - Medical Oncology, Hematology