As the body’s natural defense system, the immune system hunts down and destroys harmful invaders, such as bacteria, viruses and even cancer cells. But cancers can be masters of disguise, evading detection and outsmarting the immune system. Since 1993, scientists and doctors at Providence have worked tirelessly to develop treatments that boost the immune system against cancer. This is called immunotherapy.
The research team at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Cancer Institute is exploring new ways to activate that natural defense system, helping it better recognize cancer cells and revving up its power to attack more effectively.
Immunotherapy comes in many forms. For more than 25 years, Providence has been involved with developing new treatments in several key areas including:
- High-dose interleukin 2 (IL-2): Providence is one of the top five programs in the country offering this FDA-approved immunotherapy for people with metastatic melanoma and metastatic kidney cancer.
- Anti-OX40: Developed by Providence researchers, this investigational therapy revs up the immune system, like flooring the gas pedal, to attack cancer.
- Adoptive T-cell therapy: In this emerging therapy, T-cells are removed from your body, multiplied in a lab and returned to you to boost the immune system’s cancer-fighting power.
- DRibbles vaccine: Providence scientists are leading the development of this immunotherapy vaccine, which may offer a new way to focus the attention of the immune system on cancer.
- Combination therapies: Research and clinical trials at Providence suggest that combining immunotherapy with traditional radiation or chemotherapy could maximize the effectiveness.
- Genomics - targeted immunotherapy: Targeted immunotherapy is at the forefront of immunotherapy research. This field combines genomics with immunology to train the immune system to recognize mutations specific to your tumor.
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