Immunotherapy is a treatment designed to stimulate the body’s immune system to target cancer cells. Immune cells travel throughout the body via the lymphatic system to fight off infection by attacking germ cells. Because germ cells contain proteins that are not normally found in the body, the immune system is able to identify them as invaders. Cancer cells also contain unfamiliar substances, but because cancer usually develops gradually as healthy cells undergo abnormal changes, the immune system is often able to adapt to the changes and does not always recognize the cancerous cells as being foreign.
With this in mind, researchers are studying immunotherapy as a way to boost the immune system and help it identify and target cancerous cells. Several types of immunotherapy can be used for treating cancer, including:
- Monoclonal antibodies – Man-made versions of immune system substances that block growth signals or make cancer cells more “visible” to the immune system
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors – Drugs that help the immune system recognize cancer cells
- Cancer vaccines – Vaccines that stimulate an immune system response
- Nonspecific immunotherapy – Treatments that boost the immune system
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our scientists and clinicians are continually developing novel cellular immunotherapy treatments for various types of cancer, and we continue to gain ground in understanding and treating all forms of this complex disease. As we discover promising new treatment options through our laboratory breakthroughs, we are committed bringing those treatments to clinical trials as quickly as possible so that our patients can benefit from them. Additionally, our multispecialty team of experts provides outstanding clinical care for patients who are receiving immunotherapies, constantly reviewing their responses to treatment and updating their treatment plans as needed. Moffitt’s leadership is also continually recruiting outstanding new faculty members to further develop our cellular immunotherapy program.
If you’d like to learn more about immunotherapy, call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete a new patient registration form online to request an appointment with the experts at Moffitt. We see patients with and without referrals.