How might immunotherapy help the immune system fight cancer?

Tricky cancer cells can escape from detector cells and deactivate fighter cells.  In turn, these cancer cells can continue to survive and grow into a tumor.  Your immune system may need help finding and attacking the tricky cancer cells again.  That's where immunotherapy comes in.

Immunotherapy can help your immune system fight cancer.  However, immunotherapy might also cause your immune system to harm healthy cells.  The way immunotherapy works is different from how other types of cancer treatment work.  For example, chemotherapy acts on fast-growing cells.  This may destroy cancer cells, but may also destroy healthy fast-growing cells, like hair cells.  

Some immunotherapies stop tricky cancer cells from escaping detector cells.  Then, detector cells can become alerted.  Other immunotherapies can help fighter cells stay activated.  The activated fighter cells can then attack cancer cells.  There is research being done to see how new immunotherapies may help your immune system fight cancer.  

Hua Wang