Kan-Mitchell, June School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Mitchell, Malcolm S. Comprehensive Cancer Center, Kenneth Norris, Jr. Cancer Research Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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- Active immunotherapy
- Adoptive immunotherapy
- Restorative immunotherapy
- Passive immunotherapy
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A form of disease treatment that seeks to stimulate, modulate, or restore the body's immune system. The immune system is the body's defense system against infection and disease. Immunotherapy is a treatment methodology that uses the innate capabilities of a person's immune system to combat and eliminate various disease-causing pathogens. One of the most important forms of immunotherapy is cancer immunotherapy, which will be the focus of this article. Specifically, cancer immunotherapy (Fig. 1) involves the treatment of cancer by improving the ability of a tumor-bearing individual (the host) to reject the tumor immunologically. There are molecules on the surface of tumor cells, and perhaps in their interior, that are recognized as different from normal structures by the immune system and thus generate an immune response. These molecules, called tumor-associated antigens, have been clearly demonstrated with animal tumors and are strongly suggested with human tumors. See also: Antigen; Cancer; Cancer, immunotherapy, and mouse avatars; Chemotherapy and other antineoplastic drug treatments; Disease; Infection; Oncology; Pathogen; Stimulating innate immunity as cancer therapy; Synthetic immunology; Tumor
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