Immunotherapy in India

Cancer is a disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. These cells can invade and destroy healthy tissues, leading to serious health complications. Indian statistics reveal:

  • Around 1.3 million people receive a cancer diagnosis each year.
  • 1 out of every 10 Indians will experience cancer at some point in their lives

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, a seasoned surgical oncologist in India, says:

“The immune system plays a crucial role in preventing cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis. But, tumors can evade immune detection. Luckily, immunotherapy treatment in India has emerged as a groundbreaking approach to combat cancer. It offers new hope to patients by harnessing the power of the body’s immune system to fight cancer.”

Overview of Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy differs from traditional therapies which target cancer cells. Immunotherapy boosts the immune system’s ability to identify and destroy malignant cells.

It includes both active and passive approaches:

Active immunology directs the body’s immune cells to recognize, attack, and destroy cancer cells. Examples include anti-cancer vaccines.

Passive immunotherapy facilitates and enhances the body’s existing immune response. Examples include checkpoint inhibitors.

Passive immunotherapy, which involves manipulating immune checkpoints, is the most successful approach. It works by turning off the immune response after T cells have killed cancer cells to protect healthy cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors stop this off signal, allowing T cells to keep fighting cancer.

Are you or a loved one seeking the latest advancements in cancer treatments? Don’t hesitate to consult a cancer specialist. Early detection and personalized treatment plans can significantly impact your journey toward well-being.

Let’s explore the different cancers that respond well to this groundbreaking treatment approach.

Cancer Types Responsive to Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is versatile and can be used to treat several types of cancer, including:

Diagnosis of Thyroid Tumor in Bangalore

Bladder Cancer:

Immunotherapy has shown efficacy, particularly in advanced or metastatic cases.

Brain Cancer:

While challenging, immunotherapy research offers hope for targeting glioblastomas and other brain tumors.

Breast Cancer:

Certain types of breast cancer, such as triple-negative, may respond well to immunotherapy.

Cervical Cancer:

Immunotherapy, including checkpoint inhibitors, is being investigated as a potential treatment for advanced cervical cancer.

Colorectal Cancer:

Medical experts are increasingly using immunotherapy in colorectal cancer. It is particularly helpful in cases with specific genetic mutations.

Esophageal Cancer:

Doctors are exploring immunotherapy as a treatment option for esophageal cancer, especially in combination with other therapies.

Head and Neck Cancer:

Immunotherapy, including checkpoint inhibitors, has shown promise in treating specific head and neck cancers.

Kidney Cancer:

Immunotherapy has become a standard treatment for advanced or metastatic kidney cancer.

Lung Cancer:

Immunotherapy, especially with drugs like pembrolizumab and nivolumab, has shown significant efficacy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Leukemia:

Immunotherapy, such as CAR-T cell therapy, offers new hope for some types of leukemia, particularly in relapsed or refractory cases.

Liver Cancer:

Cancer specialists are studying immunotherapy as a potential treatment for liver cancer, particularly in combination with other therapies.

Lymphoma:

Immunotherapy, including monoclonal antibodies and CAR-T cell therapy, has revolutionized treatment options for certain types of lymphoma.

Immunotherapy Treatment Process

A revolutionary approach, immunotherapy leverages the body’s immune system to fight cancer through:

Adoptive Cell Therapy (ACT)

ACT involves collecting and using the patient’s immune cells to treat their cancer. The most prominent type of ACT is CAR-T cell therapy.

The process begins by extracting T cells from the patient’s blood. These T cells are then modified in a lab to have chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that detect specific proteins in cancer cells. The modified T cells are multiplied and then infused back into the patient to target and destroy the cancer cells.

Cancer Vaccines

Cancer vaccines aim to stimulate an immune response against specific cancer antigens. These vaccines can be:

  • Preventive, like the HPV vaccine that prevents cervical cancer
  • Therapeutic, designed to treat existing cancers

Therapeutic cancer vaccines introduce antigens associated with cancer cells into the body. They stimulate the immune system to attack cells expressing these antigens.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitors block proteins that prevent the immune system from attacking cancer cells. These proteins, such as PD-1, PD-L1, and CTLA-4, act as brakes on the immune system. By inhibiting these checkpoints, the immune system can more effectively recognize and destroy cancer cells.

Immunomodulators

Immunomodulators are agents that modify the immune system’s response to cancer. They can enhance or suppress immune functions to improve the body’s ability to fight cancer.

Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made molecules that can bind to specific targets on cancer cells. The ability to target a particular antigen on cancer cells makes this approach highly precise. These antibodies can:

  • mark cancer cells for destruction by the immune system
  • block growth signals
  • deliver radiation or chemotherapy directly to cancer cells
  • recruit immune cells to attack cancer cells

Would you like to explore the options of immunotherapy in India for cancer? Reach out to an immunotherapy specialist to discuss the best treatment approach for you.

After completing immunotherapy, patients often wonder what the next steps are. It’s not just about monitoring the disease but also about ensuring well-being. Here’s where post-treatment care becomes vital.

Post Immunotherapy care

Post-immunotherapy care ensures the best possible recovery and long-term health outcomes. It includes:

Regular Monitoring

Regular monitoring involves routine blood tests, imaging studies, and physical examinations. It helps identify signs of disease progression or recurrence and allows for timely intervention.

Managing Side Effects

Immunotherapy can sometimes lead to side effects that persist even after treatment has ended. Your healthcare team will provide strategies and medications to help control these symptoms.

Healthy Lifestyle

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can significantly impact recovery and well-being. This includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques.

Emotional Support

Psychological and emotional support is also a critical part of post-treatment care. Consider joining support groups or seeking counseling to help cope with the emotional aspects of your cancer journey.

Specialist Referral

The doctor may refer patients to specialists to manage specific side effects or complications related to immunotherapy. For instance,

  • you may need to consult a cardiologist for heart-related side effects
  • a dermatologist may be the right approach for severe skin reactions

Multidisciplinary care involving various specialists ensures comprehensive patient health management during and after immunotherapy.

Conclusion

Immunotherapy offers a beacon of hope for patients with various types of cancer. Immunotherapy can provide more targeted and effective treatment options by harnessing our immune system’s power. As research advances, immunotherapy will likely become an increasingly integral part of cancer treatment, improving outcomes and quality of life for many patients.

Continue reading to get insights on some concerns related to immunotherapy.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The side effects of immunotherapy, particularly from treatment with checkpoint inhibitors, can vary in severity and affect different body parts. Commonly affected organs and tissues include:

Skin: Skin-related side effects are common.

Colon: Gastrointestinal issues such as colitis can occur.

Lungs: Pneumonitis is a possible side effect.

Liver: Hepatitis may develop.

Endocrine system: Endocrine disorders, such as thyroid dysfunction, can arise.

These side effects appear within weeks to a few months of starting treatment. They may persist or first appear even after treatment has finished. Most side effects are mild and reversible if reported and addressed early.

Management of immunotherapy-related side effects follows specific principles depending on the severity of the symptoms:

Mild side effects (Grade 1 or Grade 2):

  • Doctors treat symptoms without disturbing or stopping the treatment.
  • Regular monitoring, including blood tests, is conducted to detect early signs of side effects.

Persisting Grade 2 symptoms:

 

  • Patients may need to miss one or multiple treatment doses.
  • Doctors provide additional treatments for the symptoms as needed.

Severe side effects (Grade 3 or Grade 4):

  • The doctor will stop the treatment.
  • The medical team will arrange for a referral to a specialist, such as a dermatologist, for severe skin symptoms to provide targeted care.

Early detection and appropriate management are crucial. They can help reverse the side effects and prevent complications.

Based on the patient’s response and side effects, adjustments to the immunotherapy could include:

  • changing the dosage
  • switching to a different type of immunotherapy
  • combining it with other treatments

Personalized adjustments ensure that the patient receives the most effective treatment.

The cost can fluctuate due to various factors, including:

  • The type of cancer
  • The specific immunotherapy drugs used
  • The duration of treatment for each session

Please get in touch with a certified immunotherapy doctor in India for an approximate cost based on your condition.