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Immunotherapy: Is It Right for Your Cancer Type?

ImmunotherapyImmunotherapy is revolutionizing the way doctors treat cancer. But it doesn’t work for everyone or for every type of cancer. What makes it a lifesaver for some people and completely ineffective for others? It all depends on the cancer — and on other factors that researchers are still trying to figure out.

How does immunotherapy work?
“Immunotherapy is a complete change from the standard treatments we’ve used for cancer for a long time,” says oncologist Nathan Pennell, MD.

Traditional treatments target the cancer and try to kill it, or at least stop it from growing. Immunotherapy drugs work differently. They unblock your immune system so that it can target and destroy the cancer.

Immunotherapy can cause cancer to go into remission and, in rare cases, might even cure people who previously might have been incurable, Dr. Pennell says.

Who benefits from immunotherapy?