Doctors are turning to what might be the best weapon you’ve got against cancer, your own body. Immunotherapy is a technique that uses a body’s own defenses against the sickness. Doctors are increasingly exploring the use of immunotherapy to treat patients for a range of cancers. The success they are having is creating a stir in the medical profession. It’s possible patients with certain types of cancer could see immunotherapy become a standard treatment. Thomas Burton writes:
The science of using immunotherapy to treat cancer is advancing rapidly, marked by the National Cancer Institute’s recent disclosure that a metastatic breast-cancer patient is now cancer-free, regulators’ expected approval of a major lymphoma treatment this fall and the unveiling Thursday of a partnership between government researchers and drugmakers.
Immunotherapy, or immune-cell therapy, describes a range of treatments that harness a patient’s own immune system to target cancer. The approach doesn’t work in all patients, but its success against some hard-to-treat cancers makes it the most closely watched area in cancer pharmaceuticals.
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