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How does immunotherapy treat cancer?

Immunotherapy is designed to repair, stimulate or enhance the immune system's responses. The body's immune system helps to prevent disease, but it can also play a role in preventing cancer from developing or spreading. The goal of immunotherapy is to enhance the body's natural defenses and its ability to fight cancer.

Immunotherapy often has fewer side effects than conventional cancer treatments because it uses the body's own immune system to:

  • Target specific cancer cells, thereby potentially avoiding damage to normal cells
  • Make cancer cells easier for the immune system to recognize and destroy
  • Prevent or slow tumor growth and spread of cancer cells

Vaccine therapy is a type of immunotherapy that uses vaccines to teach the body's immune system to attack and destroy cancer cells. Cancer vaccines are intended to delay or stop cancer cell growth, shrink tumors, prevent cancer from coming back or eliminate cancer cells that have not been killed by other forms of treatment.

Cancer treatment vaccines are sometimes made with cells from the patient's own tumor, which are modified in the lab and then given back to the patient to stop, destroy or delay the growth of the cancer.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.