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Class 12 Biology: How To Use BioTherapy For Cancer Treatment; Its Side-Effects

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By Anam Khan
7 Mar'22  3 min read
Class 12 Biology: How To Use BioTherapy For Cancer Treatment; Its  Side-Effects
Synopsis

Is there a way to treat cancer beyond chemotherapy and radiation? Biotherapy, a form of treatment that uses living sources to treat diseases, has shown promising results. Drawing from the NCERT Biology Class 12 textbook’s chapter on “Human Health and Disease”, here’s a look at how biotherapy – or immunotherapy – works, what monoclonal antibodies are; and what side effects to expect. 

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Class 12 Biology: How To Use BioTherapy For Cancer Treatment; Its  Side-Effects
Synopsis

Is there a way to treat cancer beyond chemotherapy and radiation? Biotherapy, a form of treatment that uses living sources to treat diseases, has shown promising results. Drawing from the NCERT Biology Class 12 textbook’s chapter on “Human Health and Disease”, here’s a look at how biotherapy – or immunotherapy – works, what monoclonal antibodies are; and what side effects to expect. 

Read more

Biotherapy is a type of treatment that uses substances made from living sources such as blood, organs, tissues, stem cells, antibodies and hormones to treat diseases. Biotherapy has become very popular for the treatment of various forms of cancer, infections, and other diseases. Using vaccines against diseases such as Hepatitis A and E, polio, BCG, Typhoid and others has been very common. However, biotherapy has recently started drawing attention for cancer treatment.

  • When there is a chance of foreign bodies such as bacteria or viruses attacking the human body, the immune system defends it by working to protect it. Biotherapy's role is to: Put a stop or control the processes that allow the growth of cancer

  • Making it easier for the immune system to find the cancer cells and destroy them

  • Enhancing the power of immune cells to destroy cancer cells

  • Using training methods to help immune cells to fight against cancer cells

  • Stopping the spread of cancer cells to the rest of the body

  • Reducing side effects caused by cancer treatments

Biotherapy can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Various types of biotherapies are used to treat cancer such as the following:

  • Biotherapy agents such as interferons – proteins secreted by immune cells – and interleukins which are bioactive proteins produced by leukocytes that boost the immune system. These, in turn, slow the growth of cancer cells or destroy them.

  • Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments reduce the human body's immunity, putting it at risk of infections. Certain biotherapy agents help stem cells in the bone marrow make more white blood cells, which helps the human body fight off germs.

  • Monoclonal antibodies (MABs) are lab-engineered antibodies that stick to certain parts of cancer cells and can either help them to be found and killed by the immune system, or stop some functions that cancer cells need to survive. In some cases, the antibodies are attached to another substance which enters the cancer cell and destroys it.

  • Vaccine therapy is now becoming prominent in the research on cancer as it can increase the ability of the immune system to attack cancer cells. A number of vaccines are now being tested for cancer and they can be used with other variants of biological therapy as well.

With further research and with more secrets about the immune system revealed, the prospect of biological therapies looks promising and hopefully, the role of biological therapies in the successful treatment of cancer will grow in the coming years.

Also Read,

Biotherapy: Side Effects

Side effects vary based on the type of therapy. They may be mild or severe or may not occur at all. The typical side effects are

  • Skin rash, redness, itching and dryness

  • Fever chills

  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite

  • Extreme tiredness or fatigue

Interleukins and Interferons can cause flu-like symptoms.

To understand how biotherapy works, we need to understand the natural defense mechanisms of our bodies.

When bacteria, viruses or cancer cells try to enter the human body, two types of defences come into play:

  1. A physical barrier in which the skin, mucous membrane and the lining of the respiratory tract are involved becomes the primary line of defence. Regardless of the invader, it works because it is a non-specific response.

  2. In the second case, the natural defence mechanism of the body recognizes these bacteria, viruses or cancer cells and develops a weapon specific to the invader. It memorises so that next time it encounters the same invader, its response is faster. It is the immune system cells that produce the specific response in this line of defence. This information is circulated throughout the body and defend against the attack.

Our body's immune system is able to differentiate between healthy cells and cancerous cells and eliminate them before they become fatal.

  • Health sciences
  • Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine
  • Biology
  • Diseases and disorders
  • Medical specialties
  • Immunology
  • Clinical medicine

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