Cancer immunotherapy medicines work by helping your immune system work harder or more efficiently to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy uses substances — either made naturally by your body or man-made in a lab — to boost the immune system to:
- stop or slow cancer cell growth
- stop cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body
- be better at killing cancer cells
To start an immune system response to a foreign invader, the immune system has to be able to tell the difference between cells or substances that are “self” (part of you) versus “non-self” (not part of you and possibly harmful). Your body’s cells have proteins on their surfaces or inside them that help the immune system recognize them as “self.”
This is part of the reason the immune system usually doesn’t attack your body’s own tissues. (Autoimmune disorders happen when the immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues, such as the thyroid gland, joints, connective tissue, or other organs.)
Immunotherapy provides a promising area, provides relatively new treatment options. There are a number of clinical studies suggest that it can improve major outcomes for people suffering from breast cancer. Immunotherapy has lesser side effects in the comparison of chemotherapy; it works by raising the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer.
One type of Immunotherapy is Pembrolizumab, which is a checkpoint inhibitor, which has shown solid promise for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. It works differently by blocking specific antibodies, which works to fight cancer by the immune system. One research result told that 38% of patients had a decrease in their tumor burden. Immunotherapy is not FDA approved until now, yet most of the treatment is available through clinical trials only.
In general, immunotherapy medicines can be divided into two main groups:
Breast Cancer Immunotherapy Treatment
- Cancer Vaccines
- Adoptive Cell Therapy
- Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
- Immune Targeted Therapies