Member story: Is it Right For You?

June 11, 2020
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How Does Immunotherapy Work?

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the body’s natural defenses (the immune system) to identify, attack, and kill cancer cells. The immune system’s purpose is to attack any cell that it sees as unhealthy or abnormal. Cancer cells can hide from these defenses or even stop an attack. New knowledge about the complex interactions between the immune system and cancer is leading to new treatments. Although there are promising results, immunotherapy does not work for every cancer type or every patient. There is still a lot that researchers don’t know.

Types of Immunotherapy

Most immunotherapies today are not chemical but are biologic therapies such as antibodies proteins or cells— made by, or consisting of living organisms. They help fight cancer by:

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the body’s natural defenses (the immune system) to identify, attack, and kill cancer cells. The immune system’s purpose is to attack any cell that it sees as unhealthy or abnormal. Cancer cells can hide from these defenses or even stop an attack. New knowledge about the complex interactions between the immune system and cancer is leading to new treatments. Although there are promising results, immunotherapy does not work for every cancer type or every patient. There is still a lot that researchers don’t know.