Cancer cells affect the immune system of the body and immunotherapy can act as a treatment to restore the body’s immune system.
Dr (Col.) R. Ranga Rao (Chairman, Paras Cancer Care, Paras Hospital, Gurugram) spelling out the basics of cancer defines immunity as resistance to infections and cancer cells as changed body cells. He explains that our immune system has the strength to identify between a cancerous and a normal cell through the molecules that reveal the former’s identity. However, cancer cells can sometimes fool the body’s immune cells by either masking their characteristics to act as a normal cell or by blocking the immune system altogether.
Dr (Col.) R. Ranga Rao explains that by understanding in what manner the immune system has failed, it is possible to restore immunity. Meaning, your body’s immune system can be improved so it can remove the cancer cell through the help of chemotherapy, radiation, operation, hormonal therapy and along with this immunotherapy. He reveals that in 100 patients, immunotherapy can benefit about 20%, 30%, or 40% of patients however if the patients are rightly identified the efficiency can improve by 60-70%. This has to be done by oncologists conducting tests, observing the characteristics of the cancer cells, and then deciding whether immunotherapy will be beneficial for them.
He explains that immunotherapy is an injection and there are different kinds of immunotherapies. For one therapy, you can draw the weak immune cells out of the body and train them before sending them back inside so they do their work properly and remove cancer. This kind of treatment has shown good results for leukaemia.