Scientists have realized that the immune system does, in fact, have the ability to fight cancer naturally like it would a virus such as the common cold. But, it needs help to overtake an established tumor or one that has spread to multiple locations (metastasized). From this understanding, cancer immunotherapy emerged.
Cancer immunotherapies, sometimes referred to as cancer vaccines, are designed to trigger a natural immune response to help the body recognize and kill invading cancer cells. The figure below demonstrates how a personalized dendritic cell based immunotherapy is designed to work.
Fully personalized cancer immunotherapy is meant to more selectively target specific antigens that are unique to the patient’s tumor. This personalized approach is designed to trigger an immune response that kills cancer cells and protects healthy ones. Newer types of immunotherapy, including dendritic-cell based therapies, are being developed to combat cancer naturally using components of the human immune system.