Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is one of the most recent additions to the therapies used to treat cancer. Immunotherapy uses naturally occurring immune stimulators and the body's defenses to recognize and destroy cancer cells.
How does immunology treat cancer?
The concept of immunotherapy is based on harnessing the body's natural defense system.
Our immune system protects us against a variety of diseases and works to fight off and recover from many illnesses. For years, it was believed that the immune system was only effective in fighting off infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. It is now known that the immune system may protect the body against cancer that has already developed.
How will my doctor use immunotherapy to treat my type of cancer?
The type and stage of cancer will determine whether your physician will recommend immunotherapy as part of a cancer treatment plan. Immunotherapy may be given under the skin or intravenously.
Interleukin-2 and Interferon-alpha for Melanoma and Kidney Cancers
Interleukin-2 and interferon-alpha, naturally occurring hormones, are two immunotherapy agents that can effectively treat certain cancers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved interleukin-2 for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma and kidney cancer. The FDA also has approved interferon-alpha for the adjuvant treatment of individuals who have had surgery for melanoma and are at high risk for recurrence of this malignancy.
We use interleukin-2 and interferon in the Immunotherapy Program at Levine Cancer Institute to treat patients with metastatic melanoma and kidney cancer, diseases that respond poorly to radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
For more information about Levine Cancer Institute, call 980-442-2000.