Diseases, much like everything else, adapt over time. From superbugs to new strains of viruses, the sicknesses that plague the world are getting tougher, and doctors have to get smarter in order to defeat them and provide effective cures.
From boosting the body’s immune system to finding new uses for the transplantation of bone marrow, doctors have had to sharpen their minds in order to understand and defeat the various types of cancers and other problems that plague us.
Our body’s immune system is a wonderful thing, and its total purpose is to defend our body from attack. Immunotherapy seeks to have our body become stronger against the immune system because the white blood cells can easily destroy viruses and other problems. However, dealing with cancer cells when they form is much harder.
Plus, once cancer fully gets a hold in the host, it has several tricks to evade the immune system. Immunotherapy is the process of getting our bodies to overcome the cancer infected cells, and since this treatment is natural, the healthy cells won’t risk being destroyed unlike with chemo and other radiation-based therapies.
In addition, with this treatment the body won’t feel as many side effects, so it could be a cancer cure that works passively for us, without the side effects and constant doses of chemotherapy-based treatment.
T cells and antibodies
T cells are the hunter-killer of our immune system, targeting one disease only as they move through the body. Scientists are attempting to remove T cells that can react to cancer from the patient’s blood and then use the lab to give them a boost and some greater numbers before throwing them back in. Then they have a better chance of halting cancer’s spread.
Antibodies are also being used to boost the immune system, and by attaching them to the radioactive particles used during chemo, the antibodies will directly ‘steer’ the particles to destroy only the cancer cells and spare the healthy ones.
Using the body as a weapon
If immunotherapy becomes a viable weapon in the fight against cancer, it will revolutionize the way the diseases are treated. People could possibly stop using radiation altogether, and that would mean no side effects like fatigue, nausea, and losing hair.
Immunotherapy already has some success, especially with bone marrow transplants. These transplants use small dosages of radiation and donated T cells to help fight diseases in older folk who might not be eligible for a full treatment due to their weakened immune system. The transplant also has a low hospital stay and hair isn’t lost.
Doctors are already working on ways to improve the survival rating, which is currently at 70%, and are already looking at ways to further specialize and improve the treatment for their patients.
With immunotherapy treating dozens of diseases and with the successes and combinations it is being tested with now, we might see it as a viable weapon to end cancer once and for all.