The Department of Immuno-Oncology (IOM) at Boston University aims to move immunotherapy to the front line of cancer treatment. With the ability to target tumour microenvironment, immunotherapy can become an effective primary cancer treatment and lead to stronger cures. IOM scientists are working to develop new immunotherapy treatments, improve their efficacy, and apply these therapies to patients with early-stage cancers. Immunotherapy is effective at eradicating microscopic residual disease, a risk factor for cancer recurrence.
The immune system has the ability to destroy cancer cells, but it may not be able to do so. That is where immunotherapy comes in. By using vaccines, the body’s immune system can target cancer cells. Immunotherapy is sometimes referred to as biological therapy. The study of the interaction between cancer cells and the immune system has led to the development of man-made versions of some cytokines that can be used as immunotherapies.
One side effect of immunotherapy is a flu-like symptom. Patients may develop fever, chills, muscle or joint pain, and even loss of appetite. These symptoms can appear immediately after treatment or develop weeks or months later. The good news is that these side effects are generally temporary and can be treated. However, some are permanent or last for a long time. Therefore, the benefits of immunotherapy are largely dependent on the treatment’s success.
Monoclonal antibodies are immune proteins designed to attack cancer cells by binding to a specific antigen on the cancer cells. These monoclonal antibodies are called “antibodies,” and can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy. The most common type of anti-cancer antibody is rituximab, and it is a widely used treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Research in mice immunised with human tumours has shown that patients’ immune system can recognise tumours when they are exposed to them. However, over or underactive immune systems can be harmful. This understanding has led to the development of immunotherapies. One of the most promising immuno-cancer treatments is CAR-T therapy, which targets cancer cells with antigens. It works by stimulating patients’ immune system’s natural immune system to recognise tumours and destroy them.
Another type of immunotherapy is immune checkpoint inhibitors. These antibodies work by blocking specific proteins that prevent cancer cells from attacking other cells. Several immune checkpoint inhibitors are used to treat melanoma skin cancer, kidney cancer, and non-small-cell lung cancer. However, they may not be suitable for breastfeeding or pregnant women. Therefore, patients must consult a medical professional before using immunotherapy. But it is important to remember that immunotherapy drugs are sometimes harmful for both sexes.
The development of an antibody against PD-1 is crucial in advancing the field of immunotherapy for cancer. Currently, only 10%-20% of patients benefit from PD-1inhibitors. Combination with other ICIs may boost its clinical efficacy. Further research into the immune microenvironment of tumors and the mechanism of PD-1inhibitors’ actions could advance this therapy further. This breakthrough could help patients with advanced-stage cancers.