Immunotherapy is among the experimental methods for treating tumors. This approach is based on the understanding that immune system status plays an important role in the onset, progression and outcome of malignancies. If the functional state of the immune system is activated in the right way, it is likely that the tumor process will be controlled.
There are several types of immunotherapy. The first type is active non-specific immunotherapy. These are substances of natural or synthetic origin that are introduced into the bloodstream and activate all the components of the immune system.
For example, BCG vaccine components may activate antitumor white blood cells. It is used in bladder carcinoma and malignant melanoma. The vaccine is injected into the tumor itself and directs activated immune cells to the neoplastic process. In some patients, the effect may be opposite to the desired, and for this reason this type of immunotherapy is not a unified form of treatment for said tumors.
Clinical trials are being conducted at the University of Duke, USA, where malignant tumor cells – glioblastoma are infected with a modified variant of the polio virus. In a significant number of cases, this results in direct death of the infected tumor cells, as well as the activation of the patient’s immune system.
The second type is related to the development of various vaccines that contain molecules found in tumor cells. Ie. immunotherapy is directed directly to tumor cells and does not activate the entire immune system, but only part of it is responsible for anti-tumor protection. This is a type of active specific immunotherapy. This is the most intensely developing immunotherapy, which has high hopes.
Here are the so-called DNA Vaccines. Through them, the so-called ” plasmids that transform cells into more visible to the immune system. Vaccines with the so-called & quot; dendritic cells that are pre-infected with the so-called & quot; tumor killers.
The third type of immune therapy is passive humoral therapy in which specific immune antibodies are introduced into the body. They are directed to the surface of the tumor and direct the cells of the immune defense to them. However, the disadvantage is that tumors are very variable and, very often, the antibodies turn out to be obsolete and do not target the transformed tumor cells.
The last type of immunotherapy is the gene. The idea of this therapy is to reach the genetic apparatus of the particular tumor and to activate the good genes. The disadvantage of this therapy is that it also risks the healthy cells. It is therefore subject to strict control.