Answers to the 'whats'?
This specific type of therapy is also known under the name of biotherapy, immunotherapy and also biological response modifier therapy. It represents a fairly new approach to cancer treatment, together with the already familiar ones such as surgery, chemotherapy and last but not the least, radiation therapy. In terms of the aims and purpose of biotherapy, it is important to emphasize that it makes use of our body's immune system in both direct and indirect manner for the purpose of battling cancer itself and for the purpose of relieving any side effects that tend to occur due to undesired cancer side effects, as well as those that are induced by other therapies such as those mentioned above.
For those people who are not that familiar with the role, functioning and constituents of the immune system, important to know is that the immune system represents a quite complex network, comprised of a number of cells and organs that cooperate all the time with the goal of protecting our body from attacks by foreign and ill mannered intruders. Given its nature and the number of vital constituents it encompasses, the immune system is regarded as one of the most important and essential defense systems that provide an impenetrable wall against any harmful intruders.
Having immune system cells in mind, a vital thing is to be familiar with facts such as the following:
- Lymphocytes – a variety of white blood cells, which include B cells, T cells and natural killer cells
- Phagocytes – also a variety of blood cells which are known to be able to swallow, as well as digest those microscopic organisms and particles in the course of a process familiar as phagocytosis. Also worth knowing is that there exist different varieties of phagocytes, such as monocytes (known to circulate in the blood) and macrophages (situated in body tissues)
A known fact is that specific antibodies, cytokines and various other immune system substances are manufactured in laboratories and specifically used for the purpose of cancer treatment. Substances produced in such a manner are also known as the biological response modifiers whose purpose is to change the interaction that takes place between the body's immune defenses and cancer cells in order to boost, direct and restore body's ability to battle off diseases with utmost success.
Biotherapies are deemed extremely effective in the following cases:
- for stopping, controlling and suppression of processes that allow the growth of cancer itself
- when it is necessary to facilitate distinguishing of the cancer cells so the immune system could recognize them more quickly and thus destroy them immediately
- for enhancing the killing potentials of immune system cells
- for changing the growth patterns of cancer cells