Today, the researchers are coming up with more and more ways to treat the people diagnosed with lung cancer. One such new approach for the treatment of lung cancer is the Immunotherapy which is giving a hope. Also known as Biologic Therapy, Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to identify, attack and kill the cancer cells in the lung(s). Out of the two types of lung cancer – Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), Immunotherapy has shown better results on the latter type. This type of therapy is mostly given to the patients who have reached the advance stage of the cancer.
- Immunotherapy comes in action when lung cancer stops responding to other types of treatments.
- Sometimes, it is also given along with other therapies for the betterment of the patient.
- The side effects are comparatively less.
- With the use of Immunotherapy, the immune system learns to fight with the cancer cells. Hence, the cancer is less likely to return.
Therapeutic vaccines, Adoptive T cell therapy and Immune checkpoint inhibitors are the types of Immunotherapy for the treatment of lung cancer.
Therapeutic Vaccines – The vaccines target the antigens found in lung cancer such as MAGE-3 and NY-SEO-1. Antigens are the characteristics of cancer cells on which the therapeutic vaccines work. Other vaccines have also been discovered which are still on the stage of trials and tests.
Adoptive T Cell Therapy – This therapy removes the T cells from the patient’s body and are re-programmed so that they destroy the cancer cells when placed back inside the body.
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors – Our immunity system carries molecules that prevent the attack to normal cells and tissues. However, these molecules are used as a checkpoint by both normal cells and tissues and cancer cells. It creates a problem as a checkpoint won’t be able to detect cancer cells in the immune system. The major role of the immune checkpoint inhibitors is exactly to stop these cancer cells from using the checkpoints. Then it becomes clear for the immune system to detect the cancer cells and destroy them. Certain drugs are used as immune checkpoint inhibitors in this type of Immunotherapy.