Immunotherapy is a treatment that is designed to tackle the ability of the body’s immune system to fight infections or diseases. It may produce an immune response to diseases or enhance the immune system’s resistance to active diseases like cancer
It is also sometimes referred to as biological therapy and often uses substances known as biological response modifiers (BRMs).
The body generally only produces small amounts of these as a response to infection or disease, but in the lab, huge amounts of these BRMs can be generated to provide therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and other illnesses.
Examples of immunotherapies include interferon, monoclonal antibodies, interleukin-2 (IL-2), and colony-stimulating factors GM-CSF, CSF, and G-CSF. Interferon is presently being used to treat hepatitis C and is also being tested, as well as IL-2 as a treatment for advanced malignant melanoma.
Immunotherapy is being looked into as a means of blocking the inflammation seen in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Chron’s disease. Read more in the immunology journal.
Depending on the type of treatment, several side effects can arise by using immunotherapy. Side effects include fever, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting. A rash might develop, and some people bruise or bleed easily. These side effects are usually short-term, but patients may have to stay in the hospital if severe problems arise.
Types Of Immunotherapy:
In cancer immunotherapy, some parts of the immune system are used to combat cancer in various ways. Certain biological therapies are designed to generally boost the immune system, while other therapies help in training the immune response to mainly target cancer cells.
Immunotherapy may be used either alone or in combination with other therapies, depending on the type of cancer the patient has.
One immune system response to foreign bodies is to produce a huge quantity of antibodies.
These antibodies referred to as antigens, identify and stick to certain proteins found on foreign bodies. Once bound to the antigens, the antibodies attack and destroy any cell that has the antigen with the help of taking other immune system components.
Cancer vaccines work in a similar way as those given to avoid infections such as chicken pox or measles. Vaccines designed to prevent infections use dead or attenuated germs like bacteria or viruses to begin an immune response.
Cancer vaccines do the same thing, but they trigger the immune system to attack cancer cells.
Presently, no treatment can cure Chron’s disease, but the progress made in mucosal immunology have led to the discovery of an array of new targets for healing the inflammation seen in this condition.
Family medicine is another branch of medicine that plays an essential role in comprehensive health care for people of all ages.
Rheumatoid arthritis could be treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to the gradual progression of the disease and prevent permanent damage to the joints and other tissues.
Examples of these DMARDs include hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate, and sulfasalazine. However, in cases where methotrexate or other DMARDs do not ease inflammation and other symptoms, biological therapy might be recommended to block specific parts of the immune system that lead to inflammation in this condition.
Biological treatments such as infliximab, etanercept, or certolizumab are generally taken in combination with a DMARD. They are monitored and administered via injection and stop chemicals in the blood from initiating an immune response that attacks the joints.