Shreeya D -

Hi everyone, welcome back to the weekly check in. So, I wanted to focus in a bit more on the “why” this week, specifically why immunotherapy over chemo or even antibiotics.

Despite immunotherapy being a fairly recent method, it has garnered attention and praise for its advantages over traditional treatments like chemotherapy. One of the advantages being its precision in regards to targeting the cancer cell. Unlike chemotherapy, which acts on rapidly dividing cells (both cancerous and healthy), immunotherapy is designed to specifically target cancer cells by recognizing the cancer-specific antigens on its surface (Cancer Research Institute, 2023). This precision then minimizes damage to healthy tissues, thus reducing the side effects commonly associated with traditional treatments, like peripheral neuropathy, anemia (low RBC count), infections, bruising and/or bleeding, and more. Additionally, CAR-T therapy is precise in the sense that it’s tailored to the patient’s needs and cancer type; while certain treatments are specific to particular cancers, the general principles of immunotherapy can be adapted and applied to various malignancies. This versatility opens up new possibilities for patients with different forms of cancer, like lymphoma, melanoma, and more, by taking advantage of the checkpoint inhibitors like ipilimumab (Boldt, 2020).

Due to its minimal negative side-effects and adaptability, immunotherapy is gaining popularity quickly, which arises the question “when will we see immunotherapy become more widely used than other treatments like chemotherapy?” When, I’m not entirely sure but I know it might be more favored than traditional treatments due to the improved quality of life patients receive while undergoing immunotherapy.

However, while immunotherapy seems like a knight in shining armour, it’s pretty much a double-edged sword; immunotherapy involves taking advantage of your body’s immune system and heavily engineering and altering it to protect itself. If things go south, then your body might end up becoming your enemy. As gloom and doom as this sounds, it’s p true considering the fact that immunotherapy . So, if done improperly or if the patient’s body can’t receive the treatment, then it harms your body inside out. It can cause swelling, rashes, fever, heart palpitations, and in extreme cases organ failure (Booth, 2021).

Immunotherapy has marked in a new era in cancer treatment, providing improved outcomes and treatment for patients worldwide. Its precision, versatility, and potential for durable responses mark it as a powerful tool and might become a cornerstone in the personalized treatment of various cancers. While there are cons that ought to be heavily considered, the pros of immunotherapy underscore its significance in reshaping patient care and oncology.


(Cancer Research Institute, 2023)

(Boldt, 2020)

(Booth, 2021)

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    Ms. Bennett
    Hi Shreeya, this is super interesting research. I'd love to hear more about how your research, and the work you are ding with your mentor, work towards progress in the field of immunotherapy.

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