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Advanced Cancer Treatments: Immunotherapy

Cancer is a disease which is caused by uncontrollable growth of cells, where cells grows and crowd out normal cells disrupting its function. Depending on the part it has started it has different effects and stages for example if cancer cells start growing in lungs it is called lung cancer. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of body and start growing there, it is called metastasis. When lung cancer spreads to bone, it is still called lung cancer. There are many ways to treat cancer like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and more advanced methods like hormone therapy, target therapy and immunotherapy. Only biological agents and hormones are used in case of immunotherapy or hormone therapy and immunotherapy is a powerful method that can be used to treat many types of cancer.

Better understanding of how cancer cells works and its biology led to the development of biologic agents that can mimic natural signals that body use to control cell growth. Some of the biologic agents that are created naturally in the body can now be made in the lab. These agents are given to patients to influence the natural immune system to attack cancer cells. They do this either by directly stopping cancer cell growth or indirectly helping healthy cells to control cancer cell growth. This process is called Immunotherapy.

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Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment which uses person’s immune system to fight cancer and various other diseases. Immunotherapy work in following ways:

  • Stopping or slowing down growth of cancer cells.
  • Stopping cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body
  • Helping immune system aim at cancer cells or tissue.

Immunotherapy has treatments that work in different ways for boosting immune system, for example some boost immune system in a very general way while others help train immune system to attack cancer cells.

There are several types of Immunotherapy. They are:

  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • Non-Specific Immunotherapies
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Oncolytic virus therapy
  • T-cell therapy
  • Cancer vaccine

Monoclonal Antibodies:

Monoclonal Antibodies are a type of therapy developed in laboratory. They can be used in various therapies like in targeted therapy to block abnormal protein in a cancer cell.

They can also be used in Immunotherapy in which they stick to specific proteins on cancer cells which flags the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Non-Specific Immunotherapies:

This methodology also helps system destroy cancer cells. Most of the Non-Specific immunotherapies are given after or alongside other cancer treatments but some non-specific immunotherapies are given as main cancer treatment.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors:

These drugs basically remove the shackles off immune system i.e., there are some pathways which are critical to immune system’s ability to control cancer growth through which cancer cells pass to evade immune system. These pathways are called immune checkpoints. Closing off these pathways with antibodies called immune checkpoint inhibitors allows immune system to respond to cancer.

Oncolytic Virus therapy:

This is a new type of immunotherapy that uses genetically modified virus to kill cancer cells. First doctor injects virus into tumor and then it enters cancer cells and makes copies of itself which will lead cancer cells to burst and die. After dying cancer cells release a substance called antigen which triggers patient’s immune system to target all cancer cells.

T-cell therapy:

In this type of Immunotherapy, some T-cells are removed from blood and changed in laboratory such that they have special proteins called receptors. These receptors allow T-cells to recognize cancer cells. The changed cells are grown in large numbers and returned to patient’s body which will seek out and destroy cancer cells.

Cancer vaccine:

This vaccine boost immune system to recognize the antigens which are present on surfaces of cancer cells and destroy them. There are two types of vaccines, one is for prevention and other is for treatment.

Future of Cancer treatment depends on how this method advances and how effective it is on different types of cancer.  So, this market will surely grow in to one of the biggest markets.

The Global Cancer Immunotherapy Market’s worth was $ 62 Billion in 2016 and is estimated to reach $ 111.23 Billion by the end of 2021 with a growing potential of 12.40%. North America accounted for the largest share Global cancer immunotherapy market by application followed by Europe and Asia-pacific.

However, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase at the highest CAGR during forecast period due to the reasons like low expense compared to other top regions like Europe and North America. Major players of this market include Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Pfizer, Amgen, Viralytics, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals ltd, Advaxis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca plc, Medivation Merck & Co. and Celgene Corp, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Immunomedics.

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