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    Immunotherapy for Hemato-oncology and Pediatric oncology
    Banner - Cancer Institute Apollo Hospital - Bangalore

    Immunotherapy for Hemato-oncology and Pediatric oncology

    What is Immunotherapy for Cancer?

    Immunotherapy for cancer utilizes the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells within the body. Cancer cells often go unnoticed by the body’s immune system, allowing them to survive and multiply without being eliminated by the patient’s own immune system. Immunotherapy works by activating the immune system against these cancer cells, effectively destroying them. Alternatively, it can mimic immune cells to achieve similar results.

    Immunotherapy has been developed as an alternative treatment for cancer, particularly in cases where standard cancer treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy are unable to provide a cure. Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka, offers immunotherapy as part of their cancer treatment services for adults with advanced cancer and pediatric cancer patients who can benefit from immunotherapy alongside standard cancer treatments.

    How does Immunotherapy work?

    The body’s immune system acts as a natural defense mechanism against foreign substances, such as bacteria or viruses, in the body. The immune system attacks these substances through a series of steps known as the immune response. However, cancer cells often go unnoticed by the body’s immune system or may release signals to prevent attacks from the immune system.

    Immunotherapy helps the immune system recognize cancer cells and attack them. This can be achieved in several ways, either by enhancing the overall immune system or by genetically engineering specific cells to target cancer cells. These mechanisms are essential for detecting and destroying foreign substances in the body.

    What are the types of Immunotherapy?

    Immunotherapy treatment at Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka, is given to patients based on tests and screening to determine if they are a suitable fit and to identify the appropriate immunotherapy for them. Various immunotherapy techniques have been developed to address the diverse needs and health conditions of cancer patients, particularly pediatric patients. These techniques include:

    1. Antibody-drug conjugates (monoclonal antibodies): This type of immunotherapy utilizes man-made antibodies to assist the immune system in targeting specific markers found on cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies label cancer cells, facilitating their recognition and elimination by the body’s natural immune system.
    2. Non-specific immunotherapy: This approach involves boosting the immune system in a general manner to enhance its ability to attack cancer cells.
    3. Oncolytic virus therapy: Certain viruses, known as oncolytic viruses, can be genetically modified in a laboratory to infect and destroy cancer cells. Additionally, they can stimulate the immune system to combat cancer cells within the body.
    4. Cancer vaccines: Cancer vaccines work by enhancing the immune system’s response to cancer cells within the body.
    5. CAR T-cell therapy: In this immunotherapy treatment, T-cells (a type of white blood cell) are extracted from the patient’s blood and genetically modified in a laboratory to recognize and eliminate cancer cells.
    6. Bi-specific T-cell engagers (BiTE): Bi-specific T-cell engagers are man-made antibodies that can connect a T-cell to a cancer cell, allowing the T-cells to destroy the cancer cells.

    Who is Immunotherapy for?

    As part of treatment within the Hemato-Oncology and Pediatric Oncology disciplines, immunotherapy may assist in treating certain types of blood cancer, such as leukemia and lymphoma, as well as other types of cancer, like kidney cancer.

    Immunotherapy is generally not employed as the primary treatment for cancer in children. However, if conventional cancer treatments are ineffective in addressing pediatric cancer, it may be considered as a treatment option.

    How is Immunotherapy given?

    Immunotherapy can be administered as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other cancer treatment modalities such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. At Apollo Hospital in Karnataka, all essential tests are conducted prior to considering immunotherapy, in order to assess its potential effectiveness.

    Immunotherapy is tailored to suit the individual patient’s needs and preferences. The methods of administration may include:

    1. Intravenous (IV) administration: The treatment is delivered to the patient through a vein using an IV line.
    2. Oral administration: The treatment can be in the form of pills or liquid, which are taken by mouth.
    3. Topical application: In the case of certain types of early skin cancer, a treatment cream may be applied directly to the skin.

    Risks of Immunotherapy

    Complications and side effects of immunotherapy may depend on the type of treatment and the specific cancer being treated. The severity of these complications can range from mild to severe. Common side effects include:

    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Pain
    • Muscle aches
    • Shortness of breath
    • Skin rashes
    • Headaches
    • Swelling and inflammation
    • Hormonal changes

    At Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka, we are dedicated to delivering patient-centric comprehensive cancer care and treatment for both adult and pediatric patients. Our team of oncologists, pediatric oncologists, radiologists, hematologists, pathologists, and other interdisciplinary specialists work collaboratively to provide the highest quality of treatment with compassion. The Haemato-Oncology and Pediatric Oncology departments at Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and advanced equipment to deliver minimally invasive and optimal cancer treatment options.

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