Biologic Therapy

Biologic therapy uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. The immune system is the body’s natural defense against foreign substances and abnormal growth. It is a complex system that relies on many different substances and steps to effectively defend the body against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, and abnormal growth, such as cancer. Biological therapies are substances that can interfere in any number of these steps to help the immune system recognize and kill cancer cells. Biological therapies are produced in a laboratory and may be replications of naturally occurring substances or synthetic substances, such as:

Cytokines—naturally occurring, hormone-like substances that regulate the immune system, including:

  • Interferons
  • Interleukins

Monoclonal antibodies – synthesized proteins that can locate cancer cells and activate the immune system to attack them, kill them directly, or deliver radiation to the cancer cells

Vaccines – synthetic substance made from a patient’s own cancer cells and stimulates the body to recognize and attack cancer cells