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Melanoma and Biotherapies

Written by green crane, MRosenthal.

Effect of Biotherapies on Melanoma

Biotherapies are based on the idea that the body's own immune system is capable of killing cancer cells, a process known as cell aptosis. In fact, many have theorized that everyone has millions of cancer cells in their bodies every day, as cancer cells are normal cells that have changed or mutated. Normally, a person's immune system is able to kill these mutated cells on its own such that these cells never get a chance to replicate and grown into a tumor, or spread. However, in some people, their body's immune system is not killing the cancer cells and they do begin to form tumors, and sometimes spread.

Biotherapies work to stimulate the body's own immune system so that it can be more effective at killing cancer cells. Different biotherapy treatments approach this process in various ways. For example, some stimulate your body to produce more NK (natural killer) cells. Others, for example, stimulate your body to produce more T-cells. Both NK and T-cells are used by your body to target and kill melanoma. The following are examples of biotherapies used in fighting melanoma:

  • Interferon: The original treatment for Melanoma that has been FDA approved. That means that it has successfully completed three stages of clinical trials.
  • Interleukin-2 (IL-2): This treatment helps to improve the immune system's ability to communicate about what is a cancer cell and what is not. By improving this communication, your body may be able to better identify and kill cancer cells.
  • Ipilimumab: This FDA approved biotherapy is a monoclonal antibody that helps the immune system attack the cancer growth.

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Effect of Ipilimumab on Melanoma

Ipilimumab, the first cancer immunotherapy for metastatic melanoma, is the first drug to be FDA approved in many years. Ipilimumab is sold as Yervoy by Bristol-Meyers Squibb. Interleukin-2, the last...

Read more about Melanoma and Ipilimumab.

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