For patients with mesothelioma, alternative treatments, such as immunotherapy, are becoming more common. While immunotherapy does not offer a cure for the cancer, it does provide the patient with an option for controlling symptoms and improving quality of life. Immunotherapy manipulates the patient's immune system to help fight mesothelioma.
The immune system, when functioning normally, destroys only cells that it recognizes as foreign. Because cancer cells are not recognized as foreign, they are not destroyed. Immunotherapy attempts to trick the immune system believe that cancer cells are foreign, and destroying them, while leaving normal healthy cells unhurt.
Two types of immunotherapy can be administered in cases involving mesothelioma: active and passive.
Active immunotherapy is used to stimulate the immune system to fight mesothelioma. This is similar to what happens with vaccines that enable the immune system to fight on its own. For mesothelioma patients, whole cancer cells are removed from a patient and used to create a type of vaccine, modified to be recognized by the patient's immune system, and then injected back into the patient.
Passive immunotherapy, conversely, uses components that are created outside the body. Typically, this involves injecting a patient with antibodies that will recognize and destroy cancer cells.
Both types of immunotherapy are highly specific to the patient involved, since both use cancer cells from the patient to provide treatment.
Contact an experienced Bay Area lawyer at Kaiser Gornick LLP to learn more about immunotherapy and other alternative treatment options for mesothelioma. Schedule an initial consultation and speak with an attorney at our offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, at (855) 534-0061.