Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. There are several types of immunotherapy that are being studied for the treatment of mesothelioma, including checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell therapy, and vaccines.
Checkpoint inhibitors are a type of immunotherapy that works by releasing the brakes on the immune system. Normally, the immune system has a mechanism that prevents it from attacking healthy cells in the body. Cancer cells can take advantage of this mechanism to evade the immune system. Checkpoint inhibitors block this mechanism, allowing the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
One checkpoint inhibitor that has been approved for the treatment of mesothelioma is pembrolizumab. Pembrolizumab targets a protein called PD-1, which is found on the surface of immune cells. When PD-1 binds to another protein called PD-L1, it sends a signal that tells the immune system to not attack the cell. Some cancer cells produce high levels of PD-L1, which can prevent the immune system from attacking them. Pembrolizumab blocks the interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1, allowing the immune system to attack the cancer cells.
Adoptive cell therapy is another type of immunotherapy that involves taking immune cells from the patient’s body, modifying them in the laboratory, and then infusing them back into the patient. One type of adoptive cell therapy that is being studied for mesothelioma is chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. CAR T-cells are engineered to recognize and attack specific proteins that are found on the surface of cancer cells. The CAR T-cells are infused back into the patient, where they can recognize and attack cancer cells.
Vaccines are another type of immunotherapy that are being studied for mesothelioma. Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. One type of vaccine that is being studied for mesothelioma is the dendritic cell vaccine. Dendritic cells are a type of immune cell that are responsible for presenting antigens to other immune cells. In the dendritic cell vaccine, dendritic cells are taken from the patient’s body, modified in the laboratory to present antigens from mesothelioma cells, and then infused back into the patient. This stimulates the immune system to recognize and attack mesothelioma cells.
In conclusion, immunotherapy is a promising treatment option for mesothelioma. Checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell therapy, and vaccines are all being studied for the treatment of mesothelioma. While these treatments are still in the early stages of development, they offer hope for patients with this difficult-to-treat cancer.