Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma-4 commonly asked questions

Immunotherapy is one of the exciting new methods of treating mesothelioma that is currently being studied. Immunotherapy works by boosting the immune system to fight off the cancer. The main problem in cancers like mesothelioma is they have deceived the body into thinking that they are normal cells, and because of this the immune system is not able to attack them. This form of therapy helps the immune system to rightly recognize these alien cancer cells and fight them accordingly. Commonly asked questions about immunotherapy are:

1. What does immunotherapy do?

The chemicals that doctors use to provoke the immune system response are known as biological response modifiers, or BRMs. These chemicals make the immune system to recognize mesothelioma cells as bad and begin to attack them. The body produces many BRMS, but in the case of cancers with prolonged malignancy like mesothelioma, scientists replicate and enhance the natural defense of the body to make it easier to kill off the cancer.

2. What are the different types of immunotherapy?

There are a number of different immunotherapies for mesothelioma. They include: -Interferons: one of the original immunotherapies, Interferon stops the growth of cancer cells and boosts the immune systems to fight the disease. -Antiangiogenics: These drugs inhibit the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors with the blood they need to survive. -Monoclonal antibodies: These proteins seek out and kill foreign bodies, and can be programmed to discern abnormal proteins that exist on the exterior of cancer cells. -Interleukin2: This bodily protein which is a part of the natural immune system can also be used to prime the normal process.

3. How does immunotherapy work?

By stimulating the immune system, immunotherapy can prevent the cancer from spreading into other tissue systems, and regulate and suppress the body's ability to grow new cancer. Hopefully, as research progresses it will be found that immunotherapy can even reverse the ability of cancerous cells to make other cells cancerous, and perhaps without significant side effects.

4. What is the future of immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is still a relatively new method of cancer treatment. It is still in the stage of various clinical trials and there is yet no guarantee of success, though it has been effective in some animal tests. Some challenges are still being posed by the nature of mesothelioma itself.

Some immunotherapy require samples of the tumor to understand what kinds of antibodies it contains. Unfortunately, because mesothelioma is such a complicated cancer, there are sometimes not enough distinguishable antibodies within the tumor to make a custom designed drug. Using this kind of drug could actually kill healthy cells because it will not be able to distinguish between the normal healthy tissue and the cancerous cells. This can lead to catastrophic results.

Reference:Bello Kamorudeen


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