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Using Your Immune System to Kill
Cancer
January 7, 2008, last updated March 11, 2015
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By the Editors of CollectiveWizdom











Can the same  immune system that helps you fight off colds
help you stave off cancer?  

This is the intriguing new questions scientists are now trying
to answer.

New drug therapies have been developed that use the
body's own immune system to fight cancer.  Called
"immunotherapies", the strategies use the body's natural
defense system to identify cancer cells as foreign invaders
and to kill them.  


According to the National Institutes of Health, the immune
system is a complex network of cells and organs that work
together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” or
“non-self” invaders.

This network is one of the body’s main defenses against
infection and disease.  It's like an ID system.

The immune system works against diseases, including
cancer, in a variety of ways. For example, the immune
system may recognize the difference between healthy cells
and cancer cells in the body and works to eliminate
cancerous cells.

However, the immune system does not always recognize
cancer cells as “foreign.” Also, cancer may develop when the
immune system breaks down or does not function
adequately. Biological therapies are designed to repair,
stimulate, or enhance the immune system’s responses.

Immunotherapy Used to Fight Prostate Cancer

Scientists from the VUMc Cancer Center, Department of
University of Medical Oncology in Amsterdam, have used
immunotherapy to extend the survival rate of men with the
most lethal form of prostate cancer.

In 2012, the FDA approved a drug, sipuleucel-T, a vaccine
used to treat metastatic prostate cancer. In drug trials, the
vaccine extended the overall survival rate to 25.8 months
from 21.7  months, an increase of 22%.

Immunotherapy May be Used to Fight Brain Cancer

Glioblastoma is the most malignant form of brain cancer with
an average expected survival of only 18 months from
diagnosis and a 2 year survival rate of only 26.5%.  

Glioblastomas are so deadly, scientists believe, because they
thrive in an environment characterized by suppression of the
immune system and because these tumors live in the central
nervous system, according to a 2013 study from the
University of Dartmouth in New Hampshire.

Now, these researchers from Dartmouth believe that
immunotherapy may be far more effective in treating
glioblastomas than traditional treatments of radiation and
chemotherapy.

A 2014 review of the results of clinical trials of glioblastomas
treated with immunotherapy suggests that optimism is
warranted. This review, from Stanford University Medical
Center, found that, in one of the trials, the overall survival
rate more than doubled to 47.7 months.
























































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Cancer Fighting Foods

What Kinds of Immunotherapy Exist?

How do cells become cancerous

How many different types of cancer are there?

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