In this article, we will explore new and emerging cancer treatments. These new treatments can be used in addition to, or alongside, more traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Let's dig deeper.
Cancer immunotherapy is a type of treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer cells.
The immune system is made up of various organs, cells, and tissues that help the body defend itself against external invaders, including:
However, cancer cells are a part of us and are not seen by our bodies as invaders. Because of this, the immune system may need help recognizing them. There are several ways to help.
When you think of vaccines, you probably think of them in the context of preventing infectious diseases, like COVID-19, measles, and flu. However, some vaccines can help prevent and even treat certain types of cancer (why cancer is hard to cure).
For example, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against many types of HPV, which can cause cervical, anal, and throat cancers. In addition, the hepatitis B vaccine helps prevent chronic hepatitis B virus infection, which can lead to cancer.
Bacillus (BCG) is a vaccine commonly used to treat tuberculosis, but can also be used as part of cancer treatment. In this treatment, BCG is supplied directly to the bladder by a catheter that stimulates immune cells to attack bladder cancer cells.
The researchers are also trying to create a vaccine that would help the immune system fight cancer directly. Cancer cells often have molecules on their surfaces that are not present in healthy cells. Vaccines containing these molecules may help the immune system better recognize and destroy cancer cells.
So far, only one vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat cancer. It is called Sipuleucel-T (Provenge) and is used to treat advanced prostate cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
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