Cancer, as we know it, ravages through a person’s body and spreads. Unless cancer is caught early, it spreads to other organs left untreated.
Cancer: The Menace
What is cancer? Cancer occurs within the body when cells keep dividing and overdeveloping. The immune system is compromised when cancer attacks. Cancer can weaken the immune system and spread into the bone marrow. Our immunity is what keeps us healthy and attacks those foreign bodies. On the other hand, Some treatments for cancer can weaken the immune system as well.
Immune System Compromised
Some autoimmune diseases like diabetes can weaken our immune systems all together. Therefore, if cancer attacks a person with diabetes (healing processes are already slow) and the immune system is already working against itself with high blood sugars and insulin resistance, the body is at risk.
For many years now, chemotherapy has been the treatment for all types of cancers. Unfortunately, it can also kill healthy cells. Certain cancer treatments can temporarily weaken the immune system. This is because they can cause a drop in the number of white blood cells made in the bone marrow. Cancer treatments that are more likely to weaken the immune system are:
- targeted cancer drugs
- high dose of steroids
Miracle of Immunotherapy
A new treatment has been developed that is helping many people. Unfortunately, it is not readily available for the ordinary public or for those who already have diseases before getting attacked with cancer. Immunotherapy is the type of therapy that enables your own immune system (T- cells) to attack the cancer.
Jim Allison, The Inventor of Cancer Therapies
Jim Allison, an expert and discoverer of new cancer therapies, experimented with the innate immunity that we all possess. He discovered that our bodies can kill foreign cells that attack us. He also experimented with activating our T-cells for immune responses to work. The T cell needed to recognize the sick cell by its unique protein fingerprint; in other words, it needed to be presented with the antigen that matched up with its T-cell receptor.Proper triggering of immune response against pathogens is what keeps you healthy.
Ongoing Therapies for a Therapy Cure
Jim woke up the T-cells to do their job properly and not attack healthy cells. He basically programmed them, through many experiments, to do their job against cancer cells. Now, this is how immunotherapy was born.
Some cells of the immune system can recognize cancer cells as abnormal and kill them. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to get rid of a cancer altogether. But some new treatments aim to use the immune system to fight cancer.
There are 2 main parts of the immune system: These parts of the immune system aim to help fight cancer cells:
- the protection we have from birth (in built immune protection)
- the protection we develop after having certain diseases (acquired immunity)
On the other hand, chemotherapy kills everything in site which can cause great stress on the body. A person with a stronger immune system can survive chemotherapy, but if he/she is compromised chemotherapy is a challenging treatment. Immunotherapy has made a great breakthrough, but the cure for cancer has a long way to go in fighting the long-lasting disease.