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Flashcards in Immunotherapy Deck (12):

Other than surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, what treatment types are available for treating cancer?


Targeted treatment


What are "targeted treatments"

Drugs that target differences between cancer cells and normal cells.

Some cancer cells have a distinct molecular target. For example, certain lung cancer cells are EGFR +ve (epidermal growth factor receptor). Drugs have been developed that target these receptors.


What are the side effects of targeted treatments?

Skin rash
Abnormal liver function


Give an example of a targeted cancer treatment:

Anything ending in "inib"

e.g. Gefitinib


What is immunotherapy?

A treatment which uses the body's immune system to fight cancer.


What are the three types of immunotherapy being used to treat cancer?

Nonspecific immune stimulation

T cell transfer therapy

Immune checkpoint inhibitors


What is nonspecific immune stimulation?

Drugs that boost the immune system in a general way, making it attack cancer cells more aggressively.


What is T cell transfer therapy?

T cells are a type of immune cell.
In transfer therapy, T cells are taken from a patient, and altered in a laboratory to better target cancer cells and kill them.

Millions of copies are grown in a lab and then returned to the patient's body to kill cancer


What is immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy?

Immune checkpoints on cell surfaces help control an immune response. They usually keep immune cells in an inactivated ("off") state until they're needed. This mechanism stops T-cells from harming healthy cells.

Cancer cells can take advantage of this system and grow their own checkpoints to stop the immune system from destroying them.

Checkpoint inhibitors block these checkpoints and free up the T-cells to attack the cancerous cells.


Give an example of an immunotherapy drug

Anything ending in "-umab"

e.g. Pembrolizumab


Side effects of immunotherapy

The main side effects of immunotherapy are similar to autoimmune reactions, and can affect every organ.

- Headache
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
- Fatigue.


How do we prevent side effects of immunotherapy?