immunotherapy

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immunotherapy

 [im″u-no-ther´ah-pe]
passive immunization of an individual by administration of preformed antibodies (serum or gamma globulin) actively produced in another individual. By extension, the term has come to include the use of immunopotentiators, replacement with immunocompetent lymphoid tissue (e.g., bone marrow or thymus), and infusion of specially treated white blood cells. Because the immune response is a process of surveillance, recognition, and attack of foreign cells, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising mode of treatment for cancer. In general, there are three basic approaches to immunotherapy: active (specific and nonspecific), passive, and adoptive.

Nonspecific immunotherapy relies on general immune stimulants to activate the whole immune system. In the past decade, immunotherapy against cancer has involved the use of the bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine (bcg vaccine), which is evolved from strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and is used to provide some immunity to tuberculosis. A growing body of knowledge allows scientists to devise mechanisms to utilize an individual's own defenses to attack foreign cells, such as cancer cells. One drawback to the use of general immune stimulants is that there is a limit to how much the immune system can be forced to respond. At some point there is an automatic dampening of the response which controls immunologic activities so as to protect the body from attack by its own destructive immune cells.

Specific immunotherapy is being actively investigated. Particularly promising is the technique that involves the use of specific antibodies for types of tumor cells, which have been “loaded” with either antineoplastic drugs or radioactive materials. When injected into the bloodstream of a patient with that particular kind of tumor, the “loaded” antibodies attach to the surface of the malignant cells. Thus, the antineoplastic drug or radiation does more damage to the malignant cells than to nonmalignant cells that the antibody does not bind to.

Adaptive immunotherapy is a technique in which a cancer patient's white blood cells are withdrawn and cultured in the laboratory with interleukin-2. The leukocytes thus treated are infused into the patient's bloodstream to stimulate the immune system.

Immunotherapy is also used in the desensitization or hyposensitization of individuals allergic to specific allergens. Minute amounts of allergen to which the person is allergic are administered by injection in increasing doses over prolonged periods of time, in order to provoke production of large quantities of blocking antibody (predominantly IgG), which prevents an immediate hypersensitivity reaction from occurring. Presumably, the blocking antibody prevents the reaction by competing locally or in the circulation for the antigen.

im·mu·no·ther·a·py

(im'yū-nō-thār'ă-pē),
Originally, therapeutic administration of serum or immune globulin containing preformed antibodies produced by another individual. Currently, immunotherapy includes nonspecific systemic stimulation, adjuvant, active specific immunotherapy, and adoptive immunotherapy. New forms of immunotherapy include the use of monoclonal antibodies.

This method has been widely adopted in oncology, particularly in cases that fail to respond to other treatment. Immunotherapy seeks to boost immune system function, as with the administration of interferons and interleukin-2, or to attack cancerous cells directly, as with the injection of monoclonal antibodies. Several alternative medical practices are claimed to enhance immune function, and various over-the-counter substances (for example, goldenseal, L-lysine) have gained popularity for this supposed property.

immunotherapy

/im·mu·no·ther·a·py/ (-ther´ah-pe) passive immunization of an individual by administration of preformed antibodies (serum or gamma globulin) actively produced in another individual; by extension, the term has come to include the use of immunopotentiators, replacement of immunocompetent lymphoid tissue (e.g., bone marrow or thymus), etc.

immunotherapy

(ĭm′yə-nō-thĕr′ə-pē, ĭ-myo͞o′-)
n. pl. immunothera·pies
Treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response.

im′mu·no·ther′a·peu′tic (-pyo͞o′tĭk) adj.
im′mu·no·ther′a·pist n.

immunotherapy

[-ther′əpē]
Etymology: L, immunis + Gk, therapeia, treatment
the application of immunological knowledge and techniques to prevent and treat disease. Examples include the administration of increasing doses of allergens in the treatment of allergies, the use of immunostimulants and immunosuppressants, the transfer of immunocompetent cells and tissues from one person to another, and the use of interferon for its antiviral and antitumor properties. immunotherapeutic, adj.

immunotherapy

Allergy medicine
A therapy in which an allergen (e.g., hymenopteran venom) is administered in increasing doses to individuals who have potentially fatal hypersensitivity to an allergen. Immunotherapy elicits production of blocking IgG antibodies, interferes with antigen-Fab (a part of an immunoglobuln molecule) binding, prevents fixation of IgE  a primary component of anaphylaxis), downregulates T-cell responses, inhibits inflammatory responses to allergens and attenuates anaphylactic reactions. Immunotherapy in patients with seasonal ragweed-exacerbated asthma and allergic rhinitis evokes objective improvement of symptoms, which may not be sustained over time.

Oncology
A therapy that nonspecifically stimulates the immune system to destroy malignant cells. Anecdotal success has been reported with BCG immunotherapy (in which BCG is instilled in the bladder to control superfical transitional cell carcinomas) in melanomas, leukaemia and solid tumours; Coley’s toxin; and heat-killed formalin-treated Corynebacterium parvum (an immunopotentiator and immunomodulator in animals that evokes reticuloendothelial hyperplasia, stimulation of macrophages and B cells and which may enhance T-cell function by increasing its blastogenic response to T-cell mitogens).

immunotherapy

Biological response modifier therapy, biological therapy, hyposensitization therapy Allergy medicine
1. A therapy in which an allergen–eg, hymenopteran–bee, wasp venom, is administered in ↑ doses to those with potentially fatal hypersensitivity thereto; IT elicits production of blocking IgG antibodies, interferes with antigen-Fab part of Ig binding, prevents fixation of IgE–which causes anaphylaxis, down-regulates T-cell responses, inhibits inflammatory responses to allergens, and attenuates anaphylactic reactions; IT in Pts with seasonal ragweed-exacerbated asthma and allergic rhinitis evokes improvement of Sx that is not sustained with time. See Active immunotherapy, Adoptive immunotherapy, Allergen immunotherapy, Venom immunotherapy.
2. A treatment to stimulate or restore a person's immune system's ability to fight infection and disease, or ameliorate the adverse effects of chemotherapy. See Biological response modifier Oncology A therapy that nonspecifically stimulates the immune system to destroy malignant cells; some success is reported with BCG IT–which may be effective in treating melanoma, AML, solid tumors; others include Coley's toxin and heat-killed formalin-treated Corynebacterium parvum, an immunopotentiator and immunomodulator that evokes reticuloendothelial hyperplasia, stimulation of macrophages and B cells and which may enhance T-cell function. See BCG, Coley's toxin, Malariotherapy. Cf Immunoaugmentive therapy.

immunotherapy

1. Passive immunization by means of serum containing immunoglobulins.
2. Mainly experimental cancer treatment based on attempts to stimulate the immune system into a more vigorous attack on cancer cells. Methods employed have included the use of BCG, antisera from cancer patients, INTERFERONS and the injection of modified cancer cells.
3. Treatment of allergic conditions by repeated injections of the ALLERGENS responsible, so as to build up tolerance. Also known as desensitization.

immunotherapy

treatment involving the use of ANTIBODIES.

Immunotherapy

A form of treatment that uses biologic agents to enhance or stimulate normal immune function.

immunotherapy,

n improving the performance of the body's immune system by using immunization and immune factors. See also isopathy.

im·mu·no·ther·a·py

(im'yū-nō-thār'ă-pē)
Immunotherapy includes nonspecific systemic stimulation, adjuvant active specific immunotherapy, and adoptive immunotherapy.

immunotherapy

(im´ūnōther´əpē),
n a special treatment of allergic responses that administers increasingly large doses of the offending allergens to gradually develop immunity.

immunotherapy

passive immunization of an animal by administration of preformed antibodies (serum or gamma globulin) actively produced in another individual; by extension, the term has come to include the use of immunopotentiators, replacement of immunocompetent lymphoid tissue (e.g. bone marrow or thymus), etc. Because the immune response is a process of surveillance, recognition and attack of foreign cells, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising mode of treatment for cancer.
Nonspecific immunotherapy relies on general immune stimulants to activate the whole immune system. In the past decade, immunotherapy against cancer has involved the use of the bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine (see bcg vaccine), which is evolved from strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and is used to provide some immunity to tuberculosis. Recently, interferon has been considered as a good prospect for converting inactive immune cells into active 'natural killers' that attack tumor cells directly. See also hyposensitization.