It is observed that our immune system does have the capability to detect the presence of cancer and act on it. This capability is what is used in immunotherapy which is a treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer.
How does immunotherapy work?
Immunotherapy works by stimulating or boosting the natural defences of your immune system so it works harder or smarter to find and attack the cancer cells. Immunotherapy also makes use of substances that is produced in a lab that mimics our immune system components and uses them to help restore the immune system.
Immunotherapy works only for some types of cancer. Sometimes the immunotherapy works by itself or it is used in combination with other therapies to treat disease.
What are the functions of the immune system?
The immune system is a collection of organs, specialty cells and certain substances in the body that helps protect the body from infections and other diseases. The immune cells and substances travel through the body to attack foreign substances and germs that cause infections. Likewise, they help protect the body against cancer too.
The immune system has an awareness of all the normal substances in the body and any new substance that the immune system does not recognize raises an alarm. This, in turn, prepares the immune system to attack the foreign substance.
We know that there are limits to the immune system’s ability to fight cancer on its own. This is because even people with healthy immune system are seen to develop cancer.
Why immune system fails?
The immune system sometimes does not recognize cancer cells as foreign because the cells are not that different from normal cells. Sometimes it does recognize the foreign substance but its capacity is so low that it cannot destroy cancer cells. Cancer cells also give off substances that prevent the immune system from functioning properly.