IMMUNOTHERAPY: Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
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The American Society of Clinical Oncology voted immunothereapy as its top overall clinical advance for 2016 and 2017. So what is it?
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to treat cancer. The body’s immune system uses a “series checkpoint” to determine if cells are normal or a threat. Some forms of cancer bond with proteins similar to normal cells, which acts like a cloaking shield for the immune system. Immunotherapy medication inhibits the cancer cells from bonding with those proteins, effectively deactivating the cloaking shield, and allowing the body’s own immune system to kill the cancer cells. The American Cancer Society has deemed that immunotherapies "have already become an important part of the treatment for many cancers.”