Immunotherapy drugs could herald new era in cancer treatment

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own defence mechanism, is at long last becoming accepted as a frontline treatment for cancer, taking its place alongside conventional chemotherapy and radiation-based treatments.

Immunotherapy: boosting your body to fight cancer

The basic idea behind immunotherapy for cancer is to stimulate the body’s immune system to attack a cancer rather than the drug directly targeting the diseased cells. Antibodies such as Herceptin, for example, direct a specific attack on cancerous breast cells but a new generation of antibody drugs can also mediate this immunotherapy approach.