Targeted Drug Therapies Immunotherapy

Targeted Drug Therapies exploit the behaviour of cancer cells in order to destroy them or slow their growth.

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How does Targeted Drug Therapies Immunotherapy work?

What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy use elements of the immune system to help treat the Cancer. Immunotherapy activates a person’s own immune system to identify and target their cancer. You may have immunotherapy on its own, or in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. There are different types of immunotherapy. These include monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, vaccines or tumour infecting viruses.

Immunotherapy and our immune system

Our immune system works to protect the body against infection, illness and disease. It can also protect us from the development of cancer. The immune system is able to distinguish between the body’s own cells and foreign cells. The body’s defences normally co-exist with cells that it recognises, but when the immune cells encounter cells or organisms that are foreign they quickly launch an attack. Cancer cells are different from normal cells so the immune system can recognise and kill these abnormal cells. However, in some cases this does not work because:

• Our immune system may not be strong enough to recognise and kill cancer cells

• Cancer cells can produce signals that stop the immune system from attacking it

• Cancer cells hide or escape from the immune system.

Different types of immunotherapy work in different ways to try and overcome these barriers, boosting the immune system’s ability to recognise and kill cancer cells.

As with all cancer treatments there are potential side effects which will be discussed with you before starting the treatment.

Angiogenesis Treatment

This type of treatment blocks the growth of new blood vessels, which are needed for cancer to grow. There are different types of drugs that do this:
• Drugs that block blood vessel growth factor such as Bevacizumab
• Drugs that block signalling within the cell such as sunitinib, sorafenib, axitinib, regorafenib, cabozantinib
• Drugs that affect signals between cells such as thalidomide and lenalidomide (Revlimid). They are used to treat some people with multiple myeloma

Radioisotope Therapy

This therapy uses radioactive elements joined to a drug (radioisotopes or radionuclides) taken up more readily by cancer cells than normal cells. This gives a higher dose of radioactivity to the cancer cells, thus destroying them. The drug can be given either:
• Via the mouth as a drink or capsules
• Or as an injection into a vein.

Your radiotherapy team will tell you how you will have your treatment and any possible side effects.

We work together to combine the highest levels of consultant-led care and patient choice with the most advanced knowledge and understanding of the disease and its forms.

Cancers Targeted Drug Therapies Immunotherapy can treat

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Almost 60,000 women are diagnosed with this disease every year, with an extra 7,400 breast cancer sufferers diagnosed with an earlier, non-invasive form, confined to a specific area of the breast (usually milk ducts) but which may later acquire the ability to spread.
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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years but in a small proportion of men, it can grow more swiftly and in some cases spread to other parts of the body, in particular the bones. It is the most common cancer in men in the UK.
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Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the second most common of form of the gynaecological cancers and makes up about 5% of cancers in women and is when normal cells in the ovary transform and grow to develop a malignant tumour. The ovaries are located deep in the pelvis and a tumour, as it grows, can affect organs such as the bowel or bladder.
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Q. How does Immunotherapy work?

A. Immunotherapy works by stimulating the immune system to work harder/smarter to attack cancer cells.

Q. Does Immunotherapy treat all cancers?

A. Immunotherapy is currently only used for certain types of cancer, however has proven to be very effective in many cases. Your cancer will be researched to see if you’re suitable for immunotherapy.

Q. What side-effects are associated with Immunotherapy?

A. Side-effects can include fatigue, fever, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting. Of course, side-effects can vary and are specific to each patient.

Q. How is Immunotherapy given?

The way immunotherapy is given varies on the type of cancer being treated. It can be administered through an injection into the vein, as pills, topical cream or given directly to the bladder.

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