Immunotherapy Treatments Bring Hope To Cancer Patients

Immunotherapy is a treatment approach that harnesses the body’s immune system to target and attack a disease, such as cancer. Patients can receive immunotherapy through an injection, a pill or capsule, a topical ointment or cream, or a catheter. Targeted therapy and chemotherapy continue to play an essential role in cancer research and treatment, but immunotherapy expands the options and possibilities for patients.
Dr. George F. Geils, Jr. of Charleston Oncology, sheds some light on this new and promising therapy in his recent featured video. “Now we have the ability, in many of these cancers, to give a drug that doesn’t work directly against the tumor (like chemotherapy), but works on the immune system to turn the patient’s immune system on to attack cancer,” explains Dr. Geils. Immunotherapy is and will continue to be a critical aspect of cancer care. The research and treatment field has seen significant responses in cancers using immunotherapies, such as melanoma, kidney, lymphoma, and lung cancer.

“Cancer has the phenomenal ability to cloak itself and hide from the immune system so it can grow and spread. Now we have, for various cancers, the ability to stimulate the immune system to attack cancer when chemotherapy drugs might not even work,” shares Dr. Geils. “The major progress we’ve seen is the benefit to patients due to the reduction of negative side effects when employing immunotherapy treatment where appropriate. We fully expect more advances to come.” In 2015, research showed the drugs ipilimumab and nivolumab stopped melanoma from advancing for nearly a year in 58% of cancer cases. Many other studies showing the promise of immunotherapy have been published since that time. As of 2020, 800 combination immunotherapy trials were going on in different indications. In addition to immunotherapy treatment, Charleston Oncology offers a myriad of clinical trials to patients, including immunotherapy trials.

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