Biological Therapies For Treating Various Cancers

By Medical Expert Team

Mar 25 , 2022 | 1 min read

Biological treatment refers to any medical therapy derived from living organisms such as humans, animals, or microorganisms. This contrasts with traditional non-biologic pharmaceutical drugs, developed in a laboratory via chemical processes without using parts of living things.

Biological Therapy is a type of Cancer treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to kill Cancer cells. The immune system of the human body helps to fight against Cancer cells by identifying and destroying abnormal cells. Although the immune system functions to eliminate Cancer cells from the body, Cancer cells develop resistant mechanisms to evade these immune reactions.

Cancer immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy wherein the immune system is modified/strengthen to fight against Cancer cells.

Several types of Biological Therapies exist, including:

  1. Immunotherapy [PD-1 and PDL1 Inhibitor]
  2. Monoclonal antibodies [Rituximab in lymphoma, Cetuximab in Colon Cancer]
  3. Angiogenesis inhibitors [Bevacizumab, Ramucirumab, etc]
  4. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy [In Ca Urinary Bladder]
  5. Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy [In Leukaemia]
  6. Cytokine Therapy [Interferons in Kidney Cancer]
  7. Immunoconjugates [ TDM1 in metastatic breast carcinoma]
  8. Oncolytic Virus Therapy and Gene Therapy [Still experimental]
  9. Targeted Drug Therapy [Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab in Breast Cancer]
  10. Cancer Vaccines [HPV vaccination in young girls]

Biological Therapies use the following mechanism:

  1. Stopping or controlling the processes that allow Cancer to grow
  2. Increasing the killing power of immune system cells
  3. Stopping Cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body
  4. Making Cancer cells more easily accessible by the immune system
  5. Training immune cells to fight Cancer cells

Biological Therapies can be used alone to treat Cancer. It can also be used with other treatments, including cancer chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy.

Advantages of Biological Therapies over conventional treatment options

Biological Therapies don’t have side effects like Chemotherapy such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, oral ulcers etc. They are easy to administer and do not impair the quality of life like Chemotherapy. Biological Treatment is pushing Chemotherapy majorly in Lung cancer and Melanoma.

Biological Cancer Therapies provide a better way to custom Cancer treatment. Eventually, treatments may even be individualised based on the unique set of molecular targets produced by an individual patient’s tumour biology.

Additionally, Biological Treatment has improved Cancer patients' treatment outcomes specially in advanced metastatic settings with lesser side effects. Treatment with biologicals has increased survival with better quality of life.

Written and Verified by:

Medical Expert Team