Immunotherapy15 Apr 2022
Immunotherapy involves using the immune system to eliminate cancer cells, just as it works to attack bacteria and viruses. Rather than targeting the cancer cells directly, this treatment teaches the immune system to recognize and destroy them. This type of treatment can target various cells involved in the immune response.
Immunotherapy covers several therapeutic approaches and has been very successful in recent years. Some immunotherapy treatments are already authorized and others are still being assessed.
- Therapeutic vaccines against cancer: Traditional vaccines specifically activate the immune system so that it can defend itself against bacteria or viruses. Vaccines against cancer teach the immune system to attack cancer cells. This teaching process involves presenting the immune system with a protein located on the tumors. The only approved vaccine to date treats advanced forms of prostate cancer. Others are still being studied.
- Unlocking the immune system to enable it to attack cancer cells: This is the strategy that has been the most highly developed in recent years. Everything started from a simple observation that cancer cells are able to bypass the immune system by activating immune response inhibitors known as immune checkpoints. There are already several treatments using antibodies capable of blocking the action of the immune checkpoints and thus “unlocking” the immune system to enable it to reject tumors. These treatments have already proven effective in several tumor locations, among others in lung cancer, melanoma and kidney cancer. Today, the majority of patients unfortunately don’t respond to these treatments and research must continue to increase the number of people that can benefit from immunotherapy. Some options are already promising, and a number of trials are underway to expand the list of cancers than can be cured using immunotherapy.
Respectfully called MVR, the late MV Raghavan was one of the revolutionary leaders of the Communist movement in Kerala. Born in an ordinary family in Pappinissery, Kannur, his political life began in his early teens. He served two terms as Minister of Co-operation and Ports in Kerala during 1991-1996 and 2001-2006. MVR revolutionized the co-operative sector by taking the people-powered movement to healthcare and education in the State. MV Raghavan realized the role of the co-operative movement in social development and job creation and he was instrumental in setting up various institutions in the state.