Immune Cell-Mediated Cell Killing
Some cancer cells are able to inactivate the immune system or simply hide from it. As a result, immune cells will not recognize the cancer cells and thus not kill them.
Active immunotherapies are strategies that attempt to stimulate the patient's immune system in such a way that immune cells, such as NK-cells or cytotoxic T-cells, recognize the tumor cells again and kill them effectively.
Definition of how active immunotherapy works
Active immunotherapies usually involve the following steps:
- Cancer vaccine treatments introduce one or more antigens into the body, usually by i.v. injection.
- There, they cause an immune response that results in immune cell activation or antibody production.
- Antibodies recognize and bind to antigens on the surface of cancer cells. At the same time, the immune cells (in most cases the CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells) induce the death of cancer cells by targeting the tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) that are present on the cancer cells' surface.
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