Immune therapy is a new class of cancer treatment designed to boost or enhance the body’s immune system to more efficiently target and destroy cancerous cells. Many experts believe that immunotherapy represents the most promising new cancer treatment since the development of chemotherapy. Moffitt Cancer Center is a pioneer in advancing this promising new option, which we believe has unprecedented potential to make a difference in the lives of many cancer patients.
Over the last several years, the field of cancer immunology has rapidly advanced and produced several forms of immune therapy that can increase the body’s immune system response to tumors. One type of immunotherapy involves the use of monoclonal antibodies that are designed to attach themselves to a specific protein in cancer cells. The type of immune therapy can potentially:
- “Mark” a cancer cell so that the body’s immune system will recognize it as foreign and attack it
- Attach to the growth receptor factor in a cancer cell to block growth signals and prevent the cell from obtaining the blood supply that it needs to grow and divide
- Deliver radiation therapy directly to a cancer cell (radioimmunotherapy)
- Deposit radioactive particles into a cell that show up in images to help diagnose certain cancers
- Carry cancer-fighting drugs directly to a cell to destroy it without affecting the surrounding healthy cells
Other forms of immune therapy include nonspecific immunotherapies and cancer vaccines. Nonspecific immunotherapies may be given along with or after other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, or as a primary form of treatment. Two common nonspecific immunotherapies are interferons, which can stimulate the immune system to fight cancer, and interleukins, which can help the immune system produce cancer-fighting cells. Cancer vaccines expose the immune system to certain antigens to trigger a response to destroy a particular protein.
Immune cell therapy at Moffitt Cancer Center
If you’d like to learn more about immune therapy, the experts at Moffitt can provide the information you need to make informed choices about your health and wellness. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.