Overview on Biotherapy – Treatment for Cancer

The impact of the discovery of cancer is indeed intense, that is why treatment and prevention have been developed. Cancer alternative treatments are even being utilized by some. New therapies are tested to prolong the life of cancer patients and of course any serious complications. Every time there is a breakthrough in the cure for cancer, it has given hope to old and newly diagnosed patients with cancer and also their loved ones. Somehow they can say that there is still light for going back to a normal life.

Biotherapy is one of the developed methods for treating cancer. The major goal is to stimulate the immune response of the patient to damage or destroy cancer cells and eventually eliminate cancer symptoms. Cancer cells contain certain proteins called tumor-specific antigens that are not present on normal cells. The normal response of the body to antigens is stimulation of the immune system and production of antibodies. The antibodies will help fight foreign objects and thus boost the immune system of the patient.

Immunotherapy holds promise as a treatment for cancer because of the properties of the immune system like specific antigen recognition, so antitumor immune rejection responses can selectively eliminate cancer cells but spare normal cells. The long-lived immune memory cells can provide extended protection against recurrent tumor cells and foci of metastatic cancer cells and numerous immunologic mechanisms are able to cause rejection of various types of cancer. Research is focusing on the immunogenic properties of various tumor-associated antigens and on developing methods to enhance specific tumor rejection immune responses.

Biotherapy refers to taking the own biological substances of the body that modify the body's response to tumors, modifying these substances to increase their response to tumors and then reinfusing them. The term, biologic response modifiers have evolved to encompass many forms of biotherapy. They are treatment approaches or agents that affect the relationship between the host and the tumor. The biologic response of the host to the tumor cells may be affected, or the tumor cells may be modified. These changes result in a therapeutic benefit.

Some biologic response modifiers include interferon, monoclonal antibodies, tumor necrosis factor, interleukins, killer T cells, and helper T cells. Interferon is a protein produced by fibroblasts and lymphocytes that is capable of producing an antiproliferative effect in cancer cells. In addition to inhibiting cell growth and thereby preventing cell division, interferon appears to enhance the activity of natural killer cells.

With production of monoclonal antibodies, antibodies specific for a given target tumor cell antigen are developed. These highly specific antibodies are then infused into the patient. Tumor necrosis factor in conjunction with other biologic agents can be given to aid in destruction of a tumor.

Treatments of cancer have been developed and improved to decrease the mortality rate in patients. Biotherapy has proven to be effective since it improves the biological functions of the body in forming antibodies that will fight back the effects of cancer cells. With the new treatments for this medical condition, people are able to find new hope.