Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Understanding Cancer And The Role Of Immunotherapy In Its Treatment

Cancer is a global health issue affecting people all over the world. It is a disease characterized by the abnormal growth and division of cells that can quickly spread to other parts of the body. Despite the significant progress made in cancer research and treatments, there is not a guaranteed cure. Therefore, there is still a need for newer and more effective treatments. Immunotherapy has emerged as a promising new approach to cancer treatment. Here's what you need to know about this cancer research.

Understanding Cancer and Its Impact

When normal cells become cancerous, they divide and grow quickly. When cells start to grow abnormally, they form a cluster known as a tumor. Tumors can be categorized as either benign, which means they do not spread, or malignant, which means they have the potential to spread to other areas of the body, often in an aggressive manner. Cancer is usually inherited or acquired due to environmental factors, such as smoking or exposure to radiation. Sometimes, doctors don't know why cancer happens.

Cancer indicates the prevalence of cancer is increasing worldwide. In 2022, there were 1.9 million new cancer cases in the United States alone. While some cancers like thyroid, prostate, and breast cancer have a 99 percent survival rate when caught early, many other types of cancer, like glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer, are difficult to treat.

Immunotherapy: A New Frontier in Cancer Treatment

Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that stimulates the patient's immune system to attack cancer cells. While the immune system normally helps to keep the body healthy by attacking foreign or abnormal cells, like cold germs or the influenza virus, cancer cells typically find a way to evade it. Immunotherapy aims to activate and enhance the immune system's ability to recognize and attack cancer cells.

Cancer research has developed several types of immunotherapy, including:

  • Checkpoint inhibitors. Checkpoint inhibitors block proteins on the surface of cancer cells that prevent the immune system from attacking them.
  • CAR-T cell therapy. CAR-T cell therapy involves genetically engineering a patient's T cells to recognize cancer cells and fight back.
  • Cytokine therapy. Cytokine therapy involves giving the patient proteins to stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells.

The current use of immunotherapy in cancer treatment has shown some effectiveness in treating certain types of cancer, such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, not all patients respond to immunotherapy, and it is often used in combination with other treatments. However, further cancer research is needed to develop this approach.

Cancer is a global health issue, but conventional treatments have limitations and side effects. Immunotherapy has emerged as a promising new approach to cancer treatment, with the potential for long-lasting remissions and a lower risk of side effects. Support cancer research to find more effective treatments and a cure for this devastating disease. 

For more info, contact a local company like Alaska Oncology and Hematology LLC.