Immunotherapy, a new generation treatment method, breaks ground in the treatment of cancer diseases. Immunotherapy treatment, which has much fewer side effects than chemotherapy and targeted smart treatments, has a more permanent effect and higher treatment success. Immunotherapy, which is used in the treatment of more than 20 types of cancer such as lung and kidney in the USA, has been used for a subgroup of breast cancer called triple negative since 2018.
Activates the immune system (immune system)
Some of our cells in the body turn into tumor cells in the course of our daily life. However, “T cells”, which are found in the human immune system and are called “soldier cells”, destroy cancer cells to a great extent. A group of cancerous cells gets rid of these attacks and develops resistance against T cells. Cancer cells suppress the immune system while avoiding extinction by giving the message that they are not foreign to the soldier cells. Immunotherapy treatment eliminates this pressure on the immune system, activates the immune system and enables ‘soldier’ T cells to destroy cancer. In other words, it has a stimulating effect for the person’s own immune system to fight cancer cells.
It is applied as a treatment in more than 20 types of cancer
Immunotherapy, which started with the treatment of melanoma, which is a skin cancer type, in 2011, after years of chemotherapy and targeted smart drugs, and is currently under development, is applied as a treatment method in more than 20 types of cancer. Although there are many different types of immunotherapies such as cell and vaccine treatments, these are sometimes perceived as “Check Point Inhibitors” when it comes to immunotherapy.
It creates memory in immune system cells and provides a permanent treatment response
Immunotherapy treatment can provide much better and longer-lasting responses than chemotherapy and targeted smart treatments. While the most important problem in chemotherapy and targeted therapies is the failure of the treatment response, permanent and long-term responses can be achieved in a group of patients in immunotherapy. This permanent response is provided by creating a memory in T cells in the immune system.
Immunotherapy is especially used in metastatic cancers
While full recovery can be achieved in early stage cancer patients, most patients with metastasis cannot be fully cured. With treatment, it is aimed to extend the life of these patients without impairing their quality of life. Immunotherapy is currently used especially in metastatic cancers.
Less side effects than other treatment methods
Immunotherapy shows more tolerable side effects than chemotherapy and targeted smart treatments. In chemotherapy, patients experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, low blood values, weakness and fatigue. In immunotherapy treatment, these side effects decrease very much; Mild side effects occur, such as skin rashes, diarrhea, endocrine disorders.
It started to be used in triple negative type of breast cancer
As an immunotherapy drug, atezolizumab was shown to prolong life (survival) in the metastatic stage of area triple negative disease, which is an aggressive subgroup of breast cancer, in 2018, and it was started to be used in some countries with approval. While only chemotherapy was used in these patients before, nowadays the effectiveness of immunotherapy is clearly demonstrated. Again, in a recent study, pembrolizumab, as another immunotherapy drug in early stage disease in triple negative breast cancer, showed a high response rate and survival success. Today, breast cancer is a disease in which the effectiveness of immunotherapies is shown and developments continue.