What free therapies will help treat cancer

Immunotherapy

Monoclonal antibodies

are soluble defense substances that have been specially generated in the laboratory against (surface) structures of cancer cells or normal cells. "High-tech" production methods make it possible that these antibodies are now available as drugs for the therapy of cancer, but also of inflammatory diseases.

react with specific structures (Antigens) on cancer cells and have a damaging effect on them or block their growth signals. At the same time, they enable or facilitate the immune cells (Lymphocytes) a recognition reaction with cancer cells, thereby initiating destruction.

These can also be directed against the checkpoint molecules and then act as their inhibitors. This releases the brake, blocks the killer cells and the white blood cells can fight tumor cells through cytotoxic reactions.

- Preparations are currently used very successfully in certain clinical situations for the therapy of breast cancer and special forms of lymph gland cancer. The therapy with the checkpoint inhibitors can be seen as a breakthrough and a milestone in the process. Long-lasting tumor regression has been achieved in black skin cancer (melanoma) and also in certain forms of lung cancer. These preparations are now being tested for effectiveness in other forms of cancer.

Further products are currently in clinical development. Side effects also occur with this therapy and manifest themselves in the form of autoimmune diseases.

vaccine

Hopes and efforts to develop "the vaccine" against cancer have existed for a very long time. Serious attempts were made more than 30 years ago. These vaccinations were carried out with killed cancer cells and / or membrane preparations made from them (unfortunately without great success).

The latest achievements in protein chemistry and have made it possible for antigens to attach structures to tumor cells (Tumor antigens) better characterize. These can now be produced in high purity using synthesis processes in the laboratory. These proteins serve as a "cancer vaccine" with the aim of triggering an immune reaction in the organism directed against the cancer.

The results of clinical studies give hope that this therapy can be used in the future as an effective protection against a recurrence of the cancer after the operation. At present, however, this form of therapy has to be classified as experimental.

Cytokines - interferon

are cell hormones that act as messenger substances in the immune system and are now also used as drugs for cancer therapy thanks to special manufacturing processes. are useful for a few disease forms and situations, but not generally for all cancer patients.

The most compelling treatment results were withInterferon alpha achieved in diseases of the hematopoietic system.Interleukin-2 is used in renal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.

The future of immunotherapy

A combination of these different immunomodulating measures could bring about a significant improvement in the treatment results in cancer. Special defects in the immune system of the cancer patient (Immune profile), as well as the expression of regulatory and immunogenic molecules on tumor tissues and defense cells should be chosen as (bio) markersCombination immunotherapy Taxes. Synergies with conventional therapeutic measures are also to be expected. The “new immunotherapy” thus opens up a broad field for new therapeutic strategies in the fight against cancer.