Immunotherapy refers to treatments that stimulate, enhance or suppress the body's own immune system.
Immunotherapy is also called:
Biological response modifier therapy
Immunotherapy is used to treat certain types of cancer. It is also used to treat inflammatory diseases. These include:
Our body's immune system recognizes cancer cells as foreign or abnormal. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells have unique proteins (antigens) on their outer surface. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system. They latch onto the cancer cells' antigens. In this way, they label or tag the abnormal cells.
Ideally, special cells in the immune system would be recruited to destroy the tagged cancer cells. Sometimes, however, the immune system needs some help.
Biological therapy helps to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. The chemicals used in immunotherapy often are called biological response modifiers. They enhance the body's normal immune-system reaction to a cancer threat.
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