Immunotherapy helps your immune system find and destroy cancer cells. I’ve read in detail and it gets pretty technical, my head was spinning. The best summary is that cancer cells have molecules on their surface that can be detected by the immune system (tumour antigens). The immunotherapy directs the immune system to attack tumour cells by targeting the antigens. I hope I got that right.
In clinical trials, doctors use new medications or therapies on small groups of volunteers like Lou to see how well they work. The trials seem to be the last step in the research process before a drug or treatment can be approved.
There are probably more unmet needs for Lou’s TNBC cancer than most other cancers, unfortunately advanced metastatic disease is not cool.
Immunotherapies are pretty new in the scheme of treatments and have succeeded in achieving complete and durable remissions in some patients with cancers previously considered incurable. It’s always nice to have a silver lining on the next part of the journey, some hope to keep you fighting.
From what I have read (although the fine print for the study is like signing a waiver at the motocross track) it seems that Immunotherapies are generally safe, and do not punish you with the traditional side effects seen with chemotherapy.
Immunotherapy is a completely new approach to cancer treatment, thank god because we need a day where nuking your body with chemo is brushed aside. What Lou gets in participating in an immunotherapy clinical trial, is the opportunity to access a “potentially” lifesaving treatment, but help advance this avenue for future unlucky patients that have been dealt a bad hand of cards.
There is only a handful of active immunotherapies have been approved for cancer, most of the promising immunotherapy treatments are only available in clinical trials like the one Lou is starting next week.
Less than 10% of cancer patients eligible for clinical trials participate which means a massive amount of patients miss out, which is pretty sad.
Feel free to give me tips for a better explanation if you are a subject matter expert.