T-cell Therapy to Liver Cancer

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Does it work? I'm desperate.

2 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

T-cells are the immune cells, and T-cell therapy is called immunotherapy. The immunotherapy doesn't cure liver cancer, or any other cancers, but it can slow the progression and extend life.

The immune system has to attack abnormal cells but keep itself from attacking normal cells in the body. To do this, it uses “checkpoints” – proteins on immune cells that need to be turned on (or off) to start an immune response. 

Cancer cells sometimes use these checkpoints to avoid being attacked by the immune system. The checkpoints we've known include:

PD-1

CTLA-4

Both PD-1 and CTLA-4 are proteins on the immune cells. But inhibiting these proteins, your immune system start to attack the cancer cells. So the drug of immunotherapy works to inhibit these proteins. 

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) are PD-1 inhibitors.

Ipilimumab (Yervoy) is a CTLA-4 inhibitor.

The above-mentioned are immunotherapy of checkpoint inhibitors. There is another type, called T-cell transfer therapy. The latest cancer vaccine, techinically, is also a type of immunotherapy.

The T-cell transfer therapy involves collecting your own T-cells, growing a large number of them in the lab, then giving the cells back to your body. When they're back into your body, they can kill the cancer cells in large scale. It takes 2 to 8 weeks to grow the T-cells in the lab. The two types of T-cells used in this therapy are tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and CAR T-cell.

T-cell transfer therapy is approved for treating blood cancer, although the therapy with liver cancer shows promising results in experiments, it's still in trial stage.

The cancer vaccine is under research. The only approved one is for men's prostate cancer. However some preliminary results from clinical trial shows very promising results.
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