Cancer sufferers are often faced with various treatment options, including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. In recent years, the method of prostate cancer immunotherapy has become a new hope for sufferers. In addition to its long-term effects, this immune system-based therapy can also prolong life.
Prostate cancer is a frightening specter for men. Because the disease is the most important cause of death for men. Based on data from the Indonesian Cancer Management Committee, the number of prostate cancer patients in three education center hospitals (Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung) for the past 8 years was 1,102 patients with an average age of 67 years.
So, how does this immunotherapy work for prostate cancer patients? Check out the following review.
The relationship between prostate cancer and immune system
Disease occurs when the body loses balance. This also happens in cancer. In fact, cancer cells exist in every human body. When cells develop abnormally, the immune system will fight by destroying them. But if the immune system is weakened, cell malignancy can occur and develop more easily.
Prostate cancer is a cancer found in the male reproductive system, precisely in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is influenced by androgen hormones, including testosterone which is produced by the testis, namely dehidroepiandrosteron.
Like cancer in general, prostate cancer occurs when prostate cells mutate and begin to multiply out of control. These cells can spread through lymph and blood flow.
Specific Prostate Antigen (PSA) is a glycoprotein that is present in the cells of the prostate gland and is useful for detecting prostate cancer. Healthy men have a low amount of PSA in the body. The amount of PSA in the blood usually increases when the male prostate enlarges with age. This PSA can also increase due to prostate cancer.
Sipuleucel-T, immune therapy for prostate cancer
Sipuleucel-T, or the Provenge brand, is a new breakthrough in the form of a vaccine for prostate cancer that was approved by the FDA in 2010. This drug works by increasing dendritic cell activity. Dendritic cells are immune cells that flow in your blood to find cancer cells in the immune system.
Initially, these cells will be taken and processed in the laboratory to analyze the content of prostate acid phosphatase (PAP), which is a molecule located on the surface of prostate cancer cells. After being activated to identify the surface of the PAP, dendritic cells will be put back into the patient's blood to stimulate T cells and make it better attack prostate cancer cells.
Sipuleucel-T is a specific drug, meaning it can only be used by the patient himself from his own blood. Because it is taken from the patient's own body, it will not cause a rejection reaction. So, this treatment method is safe and without side effects.
Other benefits of immunotherapy
Comparing with chemotherapy and hormone therapy, these two treatments must be carried out continuously. If the treatment is stopped, the anticancer effect will stop and the cancer will grow again. Whereas with immune therapy, once activated, the effects will be felt continuously because the effect will continue.
Immunotherapy is considered effective for treating cancer patients who have lost the chance of surgery or often experience recurrence, advanced patients with metastases, and relieve clinical symptoms. In addition, this therapy can control the body's immunity and improve body cells, even prolong the life of the patient.
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