Vaccines are medicines that boost your immune system’s natural ability to protect your body against diseases and infections. Vaccine therapy in the treatment of cancer is designed to boost your body’s natural ability to protect itself, through the immune system from dangers posed by damaged or abnormal cells such as cancer cells.
Researchers are developing treatment vaccines against many types of cancer and testing them in clinical trials. The FDA has approved one cancer treatment vaccine for certain men with metastatic prostate cancer.
How Cancer Vaccine Treatment Works
A vaccine is a substance designed to stimulate the immune system to launch an immune response. This response is directed against specific targets, or antigens, that are part of the vaccine. An antigen is any substance that the immune system recognizes as foreign.
Most vaccines are preventative. You receive a vaccine before infection to enable your immune system to recognize and respond to a future specific infection.
Cancer treatment vaccines are different from traditional preventative vaccines in that they are designed to treat cancers that have already developed. They are intended to delay or stop cancer cell growth; to cause tumor shrinkage; to prevent cancer from coming back; or to eliminate cancer cells that have not been killed by other forms of treatment.
Advances in research and the understanding of how the immune system works are now enabling researchers to harness the power of your body’s immune system to protect itself against cancer cells. Researchers are able to design more effective cancer vaccines that improve the immune system’s ability to identify cancer cells and stimulate a strong immune response to attack targeted cancer cells.
Can vaccine therapy be used with other cancer treatments?
Vaccine therapy may be used in addition to other cancer treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.
Our Treatment Team
Vaccine therapy in the treatment of cancer is administered by medical oncologists. Medical oncologists are physicians who specialize in treating cancer with a variety of cancer-fighting medications. Our medical oncologists meet with patients and their families to determine an individualized treatment plan working with other cancer specialists and oncology nurses.
Appointments & Referrals
If you need a help to find a medical oncologist and/or a location, please call at 1-(855)-XCANCER (1-855-9226237) or (206) 215-3600.
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