Perhaps you’ve heard the word “immunotherapy” thrown around a lot. It can be mentioned in relation to just about everything, from cancer treatments to allergies to neuropathy. However, immunotherapy is more than just a throwaway word. It’s a revolutionary treatment that is still growing and being perfected – and it has incredible potential.
So, what is immunotherapy? What should you know about its potential uses and its side effects? How is immunotherapy developed?
Let’s find out.
What Should You Know About Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is also known as biological therapy. Some medical problems are caused by our immune system reacting too much or not at all. The immune system can be made more active, using drugs called activation immunotherapies, or the immune system can be made less active, using drugs called suppression immunotherapies.
These drugs are known as immunomodulatory drugs. It’s worth noting that the long-term effects of these drugs are yet to be properly observed, however, they do have great potential in treating serious illnesses such as cancer.
Uses for Immunotherapy
Researchers and scientists are constantly finding new uses for immunotherapy drugs. Two of the most well-known uses for immunotherapy are in treating cancers and treating allergies.
Immunotherapy and Cancer
Cancer is usually treated by either radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, or various combinations of all three. These forms of treatment are very successful and are still used today.
However, research is being conducted into stimulating the immune system to attack cancers from within the body. It’s possible that this could be a less devastating way of treating cancer (chemotherapy in particular can cause horrible side effects while it kills cancers and tumors), and it may also be more effective.
Cancer immunotherapy has not yet replaced traditional methods of treating cancer, but it’s a growing field of research that could hold the key to dealing with the forms of this terrible disease.
Immunotherapy and Allergies
Immunotherapy is also being used to treat allergies. While allergy treatments may seem like a big step down from cancer treatments, it’s worth remembering that some allergies can be extremely severe. Also, the body’s reaction to an allergy is, on a much smaller scale, not unlike the body’s reaction to some cancers and tumors.
Allergen immunotherapy works by stimulating the body’s immune system in response to allergy triggers. Of course, this needs to be carefully modulated and observed to prevent anaphylaxis from occurring.
Research and manufacture of immunotherapy drugs are usually done by biological manufacturing contractors via cell culture process development. This is a form of biomedicine, as it involves the use of biological matter and sources.
The Bottom Line
Immunotherapy is of growing interest to doctors, scientists, and patients alike. While there is a lot of research still to be done on this form of treatment, it shows great promise. Allergen immunotherapy can provide a new lease of life to individuals with severe allergies or asthma, and new and more effective forms of cancer treatment will be good news for us all!