Cancer is one of the longest-standing medical hurdles that we continue to face despite multiple advancements in the medical field. Although there are plenty of remedies and solutions have emerged over the past few decades, none have been strictly effective to hold the merit as the one and true cure for cancer. Today, cancer treatments are mainly carried out in the form of chemotherapy and radiation. However, there is one form of cancer treatment that shows very promising and uncompromising results. This treatment is called immunotherapy.
This specialized approach to battling cancer is held at an immunotherapy clinic, which has been slowly growing in numbers as this type of treatment further develops. In this article, we are going to talk about immunotherapy. Specifically, we’re going to discuss how this method of cancer treatment works, how it differs from traditional forms of cancer treatment, and what the road ahead looks like.
How does immunotherapy work?
Immunotherapy is a method of cancer treatment that aims to leverage the human body’s immune system to fight off cancer cells. Essentially, it can be viewed as a method of “teaching” the immune system to detect and eliminate cancer cells inside the body. The immune system works by recognizing the molecules within the surface of foreign cells, which are called antigens. For instance, if external hazardous cells have entered the human body, the immune system will detect the antigens on the surface of these hazardous cells and produce antibodies. These antibodies will then bind to and attempt to destroy these foreign hazardous cells.
Cancer is extremely deadly because the human body’s immune system cannot detect cancer cells in a timely manner. This is because cancer cells are not foreign cells, so to speak. Instead, they are actually the natural cells within the body that have degraded, mutated, and begun to grow uncontrollably. As a result, it cannot be easily detected by the immune system, which leads to the slow release of antibodies to combat cancer cells. However, all hope is not lost. Cancer cells still have unique cells or antibodies on their surface, which means they can still be potentially detected and recognized by the body’s immune system. This is the fundamental goal of immunotherapy – to enable the immune system to detect and recognize these unique antibodies in cancer cells.
How does immunotherapy differ from other cancer treatments?
The traditional method of cancer treatment works by scanning the body for potentially life-threatening cancer cells. These cells are then targeted by chemotherapy or radiation therapy to slow down their growth and eventually eliminate them. This is achieved by way of damaging the DNA of cancer cells. These treatments do not eliminate cancer cells immediately. This is a slow and steady process, which is precisely why these treatments are often held at multiple intervals. The problem with these types of treatment is that they are often quite damaging to nearby healthy cells. Although chemotherapy and radiation therapy aim to attack cancer cells directly, it is inevitable that there will be some sort of collateral damage along the way.
This is what immunotherapy aims to solve. Immunotherapy, at its core, aims to provide a solution to cancer that is uncompromising. It aims to accelerate natural processes to eventually get rid of cancer cells without having to resort to damaging treatments. This is why this approach to combating cancer has been gathering healthy public reactions.
The future of immunotherapy
It is critical to understand that immunotherapy is still in its very early stages. Similar to other developments, innovations, and breakthroughs, it still needs to be further studied and examined to uncover its true nature and effects. However, considering that this method of treatment has been overall positive so far, the future of immunotherapy looks bright. With that said, we must remain optimistic about what this form of treatment can offer. Perhaps in the next decade, we might see rapid development in this medical subsector, and this form of treatment could very well be the one and true cure for cancer.