Immuno-modulation and immunotherapy is one of the most upcoming diagnostic and treatment strategies emerging as a fascinating option in the control & management of several cancers. The immune system plays a key role in detecting, eliminating and controlling early tumor growth. Recognition and elimination of tumors by the immune system involves a series of steps coordinated by the various parts of the innate and adaptive immune system. Starting with the process of antigen presentation, significant progress in the understanding of signaling pathways of immune cells has revived the field of immunotherapy for cancer. Emerging data demonstrate the usefulness of host immune response to detect and manage multiple cancers especially those of  blood, lungs, neck, esophagus, stomach, colon, urethra, kidneys, breast, ovaries, uterus and cervix. 

Leveraging the immune system through the use of immune-modulation and immune checkpoint inhibitors, therapeutic vaccine therapy, and adoptive cell transfer presents a profound opportunity to revolutionize cancer treatment. The development of immune-based antitumor approaches has led to safer treatment options that give fruitful results in these malignancies.

Immunotherapy is the latest addition for treatment of Cancer that works by detecting, targeting and destroying the cancer cells. This form of treatment is not very popular in India due to high costs involved and relatively less education and awareness amongst Doctors and Patients.

Immunotherapy, mainly in the form of immune checkpoint inhibitors, has been transformative in several forms of cancers. The approved immune checkpoint inhibitors, the so-called “first generation,” include monoclonal antibodies. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have gained considerable attention because of their impressive treatment outcomes in a wide range of tumor types, including those once considered difficult-to-treat cancers.  Cancers are relatively well tolerated with single agents, particularly when compared with cytotoxic chemotherapy. For example:

Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) is a humanized antibody used in cancer immunotherapy that treats melanoma, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, stomach cancer, and cervical cancer.

Nivolumab is given alone to treat melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), Hodgkin lymphoma, head and neck cancer, urothelial cancer, advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma, colorectal cancer, or esophageal cancer

Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab), works against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking the ability of the cancer cells to receive chemical signals that tell the cells to grow.

Cemiplimab,Aatezolizumab, Ipilimumab, Avelumab, and Durvalumab are few monoclonal antibodies (MAB) that have shown promising results in various cancer treatment. 

NCT03452332, NCT03277482 are few MAB drugs currently under research for treatment of cancer.

It would be wise to say that these Monoclonal Antibodies will be the future of cancer treatment, as they are better tolerated than radiation and chemotherapy, they have specific and targeted action and are able to cure tumors as well as reduce the probability of recurrence of cancer.