Cancer treatment and research has come a long way. For thousands of years, surgery was the only available option for physicians to treat cancerous growths. With the discovery of radiation and chemotherapy, nonsurgical options offered a new possibility for patients to battle the disease.
Now, researchers are focusing their efforts on immunotherapy, or immuno-oncology, as a new era in the treatment of cancer. Through research, Comprehensive Cancer Center of Nevada (CCCN) has brought a variety of these immunotherapy compounds to Southern Nevada.
What is Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is treatment that uses your body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. This can be done by stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells, or by giving you immune system components, such as man-made immune system proteins.
How does Immunotherapy work?
Each individual could develop a cancer cell in their system at some point. But the immune system will recognize the cancerous cells and eliminate them. This system is not perfect and can be overwhelmed at times, or be shut down by the cancer itself. The cancer can develop a “camouflage” process to shield itself from the immune system. The cancer can then survive, grow, spread and ultimately take over the normal body functions, rendering it incapable of eliminating the malignant cells.
Through research, it has been discovered that an immunotherapy product can come into play by breaking down the camouflage, exposing the malignant cells and enabling the body’s immune system to eliminate the cancer cells.
In the last few decades immunotherapy has become an important part of treating certain types of cancer, and newer types of immunotherapy treatments being studied now will impact how we treat cancer in the future.
Immunotherapy Treatment at Comprehensive Cancer Centers
Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN), an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, has helped develop many of these immunotherapy compounds, often referred to as checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-CTLA4 combinations, anti-PD-L1, anti-PD-1, ant-OX40, and IDO inhibitors. Researchers at CCCN are able to partner with other prestigious centers to develop clinical trials with novel combinations of these products.
Through our research, we have been able to contribute to several FDA approvals of immunotherapy compounds and are still participating in studies which have been awarded “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA.
Read our blog for more information about CCCN and our work with immunotherapy. To schedule an appointment, call 702.952.3350, or visit our Clinical Research page to learn about our research program and national affiliations.