Immunotherapy uses the body's 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 the immune system or even stop the immune system from attacking them.
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.
Most immunotherapies do not include any chemical, but are biological therapies such as antibodies, proteins or cells made by consistent or living organisms.
Immunotherapy helps fight cancer by:
- Boosting the immune system
- Marking cancer cells so they are unable to hide from your immune system and your body can find and destroy them
- Helping the immune system find cancer cells, so doctors can provide targeted treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation directly to the cancer cells