Immunotherapy is a way of preventing or treating a disease by stimulating a person’s immune system with certain substances. A new study claims to have found a way to boost some immunotherapy treatments that are currently used to fight cancer, which could result in new, very personalized cancer treatments in the future.
Currently, cancer fights hard against the immunotherapies that are designed to combat it. It is very difficult to treat cancer, because it can mutate inside a person’s body. Even if a treatment works well on one place where the cancer is located, it may not work on cancer that has spread to a different part of the body and mutated. The body’s immune system becomes confused and overworked.
Researchers already knew how to look at the early DNA of a tumor and predict what types of mutations might appear across the tumor as it grows. Thanks to this new study, they now also know how to use the same system to look for antigens that recognize specific pieces of the original tumor before it mutated. If they can find and grow more of these antigens artificially in a lab, the immune would be able to fight off and possibly completely cure the body of the cancer cells.
Researchers hope to use the specific cells from each patient to come up with a personalized plan of attack on the cancer cells inside their body. Personalized treatments for patients whose cancer is fast-growing may be more difficult to come up with; the time limit on that type of treatment would be shorter, and the process might take too long. Learn more by watching this video.