Immunotherapy - an innovative approach to cancer treatment

Immunotherapy represents a breakthrough in cancer treatment, focusing on strengthening the immune system to fight tumor cells. Unlike traditional methods such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which directly attack cancer cells, immunotherapy uses the patient's immune system to activate and strengthen its ability to identify and eliminate cancer cells. The goal of immunotherapy is to strengthen or restore the immune system's ability to recognize and fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy uses a variety of strategies, including checkpoint inhibitors (Checkpoint inhibitors) and cell therapy, which allow targeted attack on tumors with the potential to reduce side effects and increase the effectiveness of treatment.

The Immune System and Immunotherapy

Cancer is a complex disease that affects millions of people worldwide. There are many types of cancer, each with a different impact on the physical and mental health of patients. The key to our body's defense against cancer is the immune system, which has protected us from infections and diseases. The immune system can recognize and eliminate tumor cells through various mechanisms. This includes the activation of specific immune cells that can identify and destroy cells that are considered dangerous or foreign.

Immunotherapy represents a revolution in cancer treatment by focusing on the patient's own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Unlike traditional methods, such as chemotherapy, which directly attacks cancer cells often at the cost of damaging healthy cells, immunotherapy aims to "teach" the immune system to fight cancer more effectively.

This approach uses various strategies to enhance the immune system's ability to recognize and attack cancer cells, thereby circumventing their ability to hide or suppress the immune response.

One of the biggest challenges in fighting cancer is the mechanism of immune tolerance. This is a process in which the immune system tolerates the body's own cells and prevents its attack on them. However, cancer cells can exploit this mechanism by "escaping" recognition by the immune system. They use various strategies to "mask" themselves as harmless cells or suppress the immune response, allowing them to grow and spread without interference.

This approach opens up new possibilities for patients facing this serious disease, offering new hope for effective treatment. Are you considering immunotherapy as part of your treatment plan? We provide consultations that allow you to better understand your options and create personalized treatment plans. Our goal is to support your fight against cancer with the latest knowledge and cutting-edge technology. Together we will find a way to face your health challenges.

What Diseases Does Immunotherapy Treat?

Immunotherapy has proven to be an effective treatment method for a wide range of oncological diseases.


One of the first forms of cancer where immunotherapy successes were demonstrated, especially with the use of checkpoint inhibitors.

Renal Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer)

Immunotherapy, including PD-1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors, has brought better outcomes in treating this form of cancer.

Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma

The use of immunotherapy in treating advanced stages of lung carcinoma has led to improved patient survival.

Head and Neck Cancer

Immunotherapeutic approaches have also proven effective in some types of head and neck cancer, especially those associated with HPV (Human Papillomavirus) infection.

Hodgkin's Lymphoma

One of the hematological malignancies where immunotherapy, especially PD-1 inhibitors, has brought significant improvement in treatment.

Certain Types of Leukemia and Lymphomas

Immunotherapy, including CAR-T cell therapy, has shown remarkable results in treating some forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

Bladder Cancer

PD-L1 and PD-1 inhibitors have proven effective in treating urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.

Colorectal Cancer

Especially in cancers that show microsatellite instability (MSI) or are defective in DNA break repair, immunotherapy can be effective.

Who is a Suitable Candidate for Immunotherapy

Not every patient battling cancer will be an ideal candidate for immunotherapy. Decisive factors include the type and stage of cancer, as well as the genetic and molecular characteristics of the tumor, previous treatment methods, and overall health condition of the patient.

Biomarkers play a critical role in predicting the success of immunotherapy. We offer specialized testing that targets identifying specific proteins or genetic mutations in the tumor, indicating the potential effectiveness of immunotherapy.

Customizing treatment to the individual genetic and molecular profiles of the tumor is key to determining which patients could benefit most from immunotherapy. If you are considering advanced therapeutic options, turn to us. Together, we will explore how immunotherapy could help you manage cancer.

Treatment Process

Immunotherapy - an innovative approach to cancer treatment using the immune system

Immunotherapy treatment involves several steps, including selecting therapy based on the characteristics of the tumor and the patient, duration of treatment, and regular monitoring of progress.

Before starting the first treatment, your doctor should thoroughly explain how the treatment will proceed, what side effects you can expect, and how to manage them. In immunotherapy treatment, being well-informed is absolutely crucial.

Before starting immunotherapy, it is sometimes necessary to confirm the presence of so-called predictive markers, which tell us whether immunotherapy will be suitable for a specific tumor. These markers are tested from tissues obtained by biopsy, such as PDL-1 in non-small cell lung carcinoma.

Before each series of immunotherapy, blood is drawn to check blood counts, mineral values, renal and hepatic functions, and possibly hormone levels. The patient then comes to their oncologist, where they await a discussion with the doctor, a clinical examination, and a review of laboratory results and EKG.

The active substance is typically administered in the form of intravenous infusions in several series or cycles, with a few weeks' break between each application.

The duration of treatment depends on the goal of therapy and varies between curative and palliative goals. In the case of a palliative goal, therapy continues as long as it is effective and side effects are tolerable.

Monitoring progress includes regular medical examinations, blood tests, and imaging diagnostic tests to track the tumor's response to treatment and manage side effects.

If you are considering immunotherapy or looking for further treatment options for your condition, we offer you the opportunity for consultation, where together we can find the most appropriate solution for your situation.

Forms of Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy - an innovative approach to cancer treatment using the immune system

Checkpoint Inhibitors

Drugs that release the "brakes" of the immune system by blocking proteins on the surface of immune cells known as checkpoints. These checkpoints, such as PD-1 and CTLA-4, regulate the immune response and their inhibition strengthens the immune system's ability to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Commonly used inhibitors include pembrolizumab, nivolumab, and atezolizumab, which are primarily intended for treating various types of cancer including melanoma, lung cancer, and kidney cancer.

Therapeutic Vaccines

Vaccines designed to treat existing cancer by stimulating the immune response against tumor cells. An example is the Sipuleucel-T vaccine used in prostate cancer, which activates the immune system against tumor cells. These vaccines are administered directly into the tumor site or systemically to enhance the body's ability to fight cancer.

Prophylactic Vaccines

Vaccines aimed at preventing the onset of cancer by protecting against infections that can cause tumor diseases. Vaccines against HPV are an example where vaccination reduces the risk of developing cervical, vaginal, and ENT cancers. Vaccination against hepatitis B has a significant impact on reducing the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma.


A group of proteins that play a key role in regulating the immune response and the formation of blood cells. Interferon alpha is used in treating neuroendocrine tumors, and various growth factors are important in supporting the production of white and red blood cells, thus reducing the risk of adverse effects of oncological treatment.

Checkpoint Inhibitors

Checkpoint inhibitors (inhibitors of checkpoints) are the most commonly used method of immunotherapy, as they offer targeted and effective cancer treatment with the potential to significantly improve patient survival for various types of tumors.

They work on the principle of regulating the immune response in the human body, which is designed to recognize and destroy foreign pathogens, but at the same time can distinguish its own healthy tissues. This prevention mechanism allows avoiding the development of autoimmune diseases, but at the same time can lead to so-called tumor tolerance.

Mechanism of Action of Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immunotherapy - an innovative approach to cancer treatment using the immune system


The immune system is a complex defensive mechanism of the body against infections and diseases. Within this system, T lymphocytes play a key role, capable of recognizing and destroying cancer cells. On their surface membrane, T lymphocytes have proteins known as checkpoints, which regulate their activity. Among these proteins are primarily CTLA-4 and PD-1.

Inhibitors of CTLA-4

CTLA-4 is one of the first discovered checkpoints. Inhibition of CTLA-4 increases the activity of T lymphocytes in the early stages of the immune response. Ipilimumab, an example of a CTLA-4 inhibitor, was approved for treating advanced melanoma and has shown to significantly prolong the survival of patients.

Inhibitors of PD-1 and PD-L1

PD-1 is another critical checkpoint that T lymphocytes use to regulate their activity. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab are examples of PD-1 inhibitors that have proven effective in many types of cancer, including non-small cell lung carcinoma and kidney cancer. Atezolizumab, avelumab, and durvalumab are inhibitors that block PD-L1 on cancer cells, thereby restoring the immune system's ability to fight cancer.

Risks and Potential Side Effects of Immunotherapy

However, activating the immune system is not without risk. Some patients may develop harmful side effects when their immune system starts attacking healthy cells. However, clinical studies have brought encouraging results in various types of cancer, not just melanoma.

Such a comprehensive view of the interaction between the immune system and cancer cells provides hope for future therapeutic strategies. It is not just a battle between the immune system and cancer; it is a complex field where one side attacks and the other defends, and where science is continually seeking new ways to improve prognosis and quality of life for patients.

Skin Reactions

The first and most common side effect that many patients notice are skin reactions. These can include rashes, itching, or even dry skin. They are not always just superficial; skin reactions can signal a more serious allergic reaction.

Digestive System Disorders

Adverse effects on the digestive system, such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation, are also common. These symptoms are important to monitor as they can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficits.

Hormonal System Changes

Immunotherapy can affect the endocrine system, causing adverse effects such as fatigue, changes in body weight, and even diabetes.

Changes in the hormonal system are one of the less known, but potentially serious adverse effects of immunotherapy. These changes can affect the functioning of the thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, changes in weight, or mood swings. In some cases, immunotherapy can cause autoimmune reactions that specifically damage endocrine glands. Managing these complications often requires lifelong substitution hormone therapy and regular monitoring of hormone levels.

Autoimmune Reactions

One of the ironic aspects of immunotherapy is that its goal is to activate the immune system, but at the same time, it can cause it to start attacking healthy cells and tissues. This can lead to serious autoimmune reactions that can be potentially life-threatening.

Inflammatory Reactions and Fever

Similarly, inflammatory reactions in the body can occur, which can be associated with fever and overall discomfort.

It is important to note that each patient reacts to immunotherapy differently. Some may experience milder side effects, while others may have more serious ones. Monitoring and quick response to adverse effects are key to effective treatment and minimizing risk.


Immunotherapy - an innovative approach to cancer treatment using the immune system

For those who ask how these side effects differ from those of chemotherapy, the answer is complex. While chemotherapy tends to have systemic side effects that affect the whole body, immunotherapy usually causes more localized reactions. However, both methods have their own complex profile of risks and benefits, and the choice between them is often dependent on the specific type of cancer and the overall health condition of the patient.

Take advantage of immunotherapy opportunities in our practice, where we combine advanced diagnostic methods with tailored therapies. Our goal is to provide you with comprehensive care on the path to health.



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