Immunotherapy is also sometimes called biologic therapy or biotherapy. It is a treatment that uses certain parts of the immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. This can be done in a couple of ways.
- Stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells.
- Giving your immune system components, such as man-made immune system proteins.
For over 200 years doctors suspected that the immune system had an effect on certain cancers. Even before the immune system was well understood, William Coley, MD, a New York surgeon, first noted that getting an infection after surgery seemed to help some cancer patients. In the late 1800s, he began treating cancer patients by infecting them with certain kinds of bacteria, which came to be known as Coley toxins. Although he had some success, his technique was forgotten when other forms of cancer treatment, such as radiation therapy, came into use.
Since then, doctors have learned a great deal about the immune system. This has led to new research into how it can be used to treat cancer, using many different approaches. In the last few decades immunotherapy has become an important part of treating several types of cancer. Immunotherapy includes a wide variety of treatments that work in different ways. Some seem to work by boosting the body’s immune system in a very general way. Others help train the immune system to attack cancer cells specifically.
Your immune system is a collection of organs, special cells, and substances that help protect you from infections and other forms of diseases. Immune system cells and the substances that they produce move through your body to protect it from germs, that can cause infections. They also help protect you from cancer in many ways. The immune system is your body's defense force. It helps keep invading germs out, or helps kill them if they do get into your body.
The immune system basically works by keeping track of all of the substances normally found in the body. Any new substance in the body that the immune system does not recognize raises an alarm, causing the immune system to attack it. Substances that cause an immune system response are called antigens. The immune response can lead to destruction of anything containing the antigen, such as germs or cancer cells.
The immune system is much better at recognizing and attacking germs than cancer cells. Germs are very different from our normal human cells and are often easily seen as foreign and attacked by our immune system, but cancer cells and our normal cells have fewer clear differences. Because of this the immune system may not always recognize cancer cells as foreign. Cancer cells are less like soldiers of an attacking army and more like traitors within the ranks of the human cell population. Our immune system leaves them alone as if they were a normal cell.
Clearly the immune system’s normal ability to fight cancer is limited, because many people with healthy immune systems still develop cancer. The immune system may not see the cancer cells as foreign because the cancer cells and their antigens are not different enough from those of our normal cells. Sometimes our immune system recognizes the cancer cells, but the response may not be strong enough to destroy the cancer. Cancer cells themselves may also give off substances that keep the immune system in check.
To overcome this, the developers of the CC Formula have designed a way to help the immune system recognize cancer cells and strengthen its response, so that it will then destroy the cancer cells.