What is biological therapy for cancer treatment?

Biological therapy (also known as biotherapy or immunotherapy) uses the body's own immune system to fight off cancer cells and/or to help reduce side effects from other types of cancer treatments. Among the types of biological therapy are:
  • Monoclonal antibodies: Antibodies targeted toward specific cancer cells that trigger the immune system to destroy those cells.
  • Vaccination: Used to boost the immune system and enable it to key in on and destroy cancer cells.
  • Cytokines: Mainly proteins that are used to signal the immune system to attack cancer cells or strengthen the immune response to cancer cells.
  • Adoptive cell transfer: Technicians locate T cells in the body that are effective in fighting the cancer, grow large amounts in a lab, and inject them into the body. 
Biologic therapy is not a standard treatment for cancer. It is a treatment that uses your immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by your body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct or restore your body's natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.

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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.