Brain Cancer

20 January, 2023

Brain tumour has one of the highest fatality rates across the world. Millions of people suffer from this deadly disease. There was a time when it was almost impossible to treat brain tumours. With several advancements in medical science, it is now treatable. However, times have changed now. New technological improvements have introduced effective treatment approaches. Some treatments are effective at helping patients manage the symptoms even in the later stages.

The most common brain tumor treatment methods available for a long time are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Among the advanced treatments, immunotherapy has been one of the most effective ways of treating this tumour, though several types of research are still ongoing. Continue reading this article to learn more about immunotherapy for brain tumours.

What Is Immunotherapy

The immune system has the power to overcome cancer. Consisting of different kinds of organs, tissues, and cells, it has a more important role than the main defence system of the body against foreign particles. It identifies cancer cells also as foreign invaders.

Immunotherapy is a treatment option for a brain tumour, which uses substances that subdue or encourage the immune system of patients to help their bodies fight the infection. It stimulates the natural immune system of the body to destroy cancer cells.

The immune system is most successful at eradicating the tumour. However, at times, the defence system may not be able to detect cancer cells, especially as people age. So, the cancerous cells continue to grow in the brain, gradually developing into a brain tumour.

T-Cells and Immunotherapy

T-cells are a kind of immune cells, an important part of the immune system, that help in fighting the brain tumour. These cells safeguard the body from cancer and other infections by specifically detecting anything that is non-self, including bacteria or viruses, and destroying the infected cells.

T-cells are also capable of detecting and eradicating tumour cells as these cells generate several mutated proteins, which are considered ‘alien’ by the T-cells. The main goal of immunotherapy is to activate an antitumour T-cell response. This method can possibly eradicate the tumour and prevent relapse.


Immunotherapy Methods Under Research for Brain Tumor

Several kinds of immunotherapy are being researched for treating brain tumours. Here are the most important ones:

  • CAR-T Cell Immunotherapy

The CAR-T cell immunotherapy method involves modifying the T-cells of a patient so that they can more effectively detect the cancer cells of the brain tumour. The process involves harvesting the T-cells of the patient from his blood sample and then manipulating them in a lab such that they can identify and target specific proteins in the cancer cells.

  • Vaccines

Cancer cells often deceive the body’s immune system so that they can spread without being detected by the natural defence system. This is the immunosuppression process that has to be overcome for the treatment to be effective. Vaccines for brain tumour work by motivating the immune system to identify the proteins that cause brain tumour and kill the cancer cells.

  • Monoclonal Antibodies (MABs) for Brain Tumor

MABs refer to drugs that can particularly target cancer cells and let identification and destruction of such cells by the body’s immune system.

  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitors enable the body’s immune system to fight against cancer effectively. Though this is not a kind of immunotherapy as it does not stimulate the natural immune system to kill the cancer cells, they are still included under the immunotherapy category of treatment.


Brain Tumor Combination Therapies

According to recent research, most immunotherapy methods work better when administered to patients in combination. For instance, a vaccine helps alert the body’s immune system to specific cancer antigens. However, it may not be adequate to kill the cancer cells unless combined with another method like immune checkpoint blockade controls tumour immunosuppression and releases the immune system’s maximum power against the cancer cells.

With this, we hope you have gained adequate knowledge about immunotherapy for treating brain tumour. For any cancer treatment to be effective, the disease has to be diagnosed in the initial stages, and timely treatment has to be given. Keep a watch on any possible brain tumor symptoms and consult a doctor if you experience anything abnormal.

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