There is no more dreaded word in the healthcare world than “cancer.” The treatment of cancer has evolved substantially in just the past two decades alone. Cancer therapy has had its ups and downs in terms of effectiveness and side effects along the way.
For a better idea of how cancer treatment technology has progressed, it helps to look at the evolution of the treatment of cancer.
Chemotherapy is what we tend to think of when we think of cancer treatments. The process actually dates back to the 1930s. It was actually developed by scientists who noticed the alkylating agents and how the mustard gas used in the World Wars decreased the number of leukocytes in the body.
Since then, chemotherapy has undergone a bit of a transformation. It is still known for the devastating side effects on the body but is becoming more effective at potentially limiting the growth of cancerous cells.
The idea here is to use various components within the immune system such as cytokines, dendritic cells, and antibodies to not only treat cancer, but a number of different allergies, infections, autoimmune diseases, and more.
The aim of immunotherapy is to kill those tumor cells and to aid the immune system in destroying the tumors and cancerous cells. The idea is that it is much less destructive to the body than chemotherapy.
Use of Antibodies
There have been developments in the use of antibodies that have shown cancer-killing properties. That includes toxins, cytokines, radioisotopes, and drugs of a wide variety. The antibody basically acts as the transportation for those cancer-killing agents.
The antibodies also focus the agent directly into the cancer cell. That means lesser damage to healthy cells, leaving patients feeling better overall and not experiencing the major side effects that can come with chemotherapy. Pharmaceutical companies are developing their own methods of deploying these antibodies, trying to find a more effective way of attacking those cancerous cells without doing the damage to the body that we have come to accept as normal.