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There are several reasons why anti-cancer immunity fails to destroy malignant neoplasms. Some tumors resemble healthy tissue, while others produce substances that mask their presence. In other cases, anti-cancer immunity may not be strong enough to suppress malignant growth. Cancer immunotherapy overcomes these problems and helps to achieve remission. You can try this treatment in your home country or get the benefits of immunotherapy in Germany.
Boosting Anticancer Immunity With Immunotherapy
Cancer therapy can work in different ways, either by boosting a patient’s own anti-cancer immunity or by targeting a neoplasm with ready-made substances. The former is known as active immunotherapy, the latter as passive one.
In German hospitals, doctors administer several types of medications:
- Monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies bind to and stimulate specific proteins on T-killers or T-helpers. T-killers attack cancer cells directly, while T-helpers are their assistants. However, monoclonal antibodies are not limited to these two options. They can target the microenvironment of cancer cells, etc.
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors. These drugs target proteins on the tumor that tell the immune system not to attack the owner of those proteins. There is more than one such protein, so different inhibitors (e.g. CTLA-4, PD-1, or PD-L1 inhibitors) are used.
- This is the longest-discovered group of drugs, of which interferon and interleukin are the best known. Although cytokines are not specific, they alter the growth of malignant cells throughout the body, facilitate T-killers’ work and make it harder for the tumor to camouflage itself from immune attacks.
CAR T-cell therapy
CAR T-cell immunotherapy cancer treatment is a method that combines immunotherapy, gene therapy, and cell therapy. Since 2017 (FDA approval), it has been used for advanced blood cancers (lymphoma, some types of leukemia) and multiple myeloma. Further clinical trials are underway to extend its use to patients with colitis, type 1 diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis.
First, doctors collect the patient’s own white blood cells, called monocytes. These are active immune cells that seek out cancerous changes in normal tissue and destroy altered cells. The genetic code of the collected monocytes is modified so that they can overcome the tumor’s masking and effectively destroy it.
The modified monocytes express CARs – chimeric antigen receptors – on their surface, hence the name of the method. Subsequent generations of the modified immune cells have the same properties, so a patient doesn’t have to undergo multiple treatments.
One of the main limitations of CAR T-cell therapy is its high cost, which is not covered by most insurance companies.
A cancer vaccine is usually an additional option to prevent recurrence after surgery or to help control advanced disease. Such vaccines are not ready-made substances, but are made individually for each patient using their own biological material.
First, doctors need about 200 ml of a patient’s blood and a sample of the tumor (taken during a biopsy or removed during surgery). They then isolate immature immune cells and expose them to tumor antigens.
Once the immature cells become active dendritic cells, they are processed and purified in the clinic’s laboratory and injected subcutaneously.
Dendritic cells attack the primary tumor (if present) and metastases, reducing their growth and relieving cancer symptoms.
To start any type of immunotherapy in Germany, visit the Booking Health website. Here you can find information about specialized clinics and doctors, available treatment methods and prices. Do your research and make an appointment at the clinic of your choice.