What are the Different Types of Immunotherapy Treatment?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

There are various types of immunotherapy treatment which can be used by a variety of patients, including vitamin therapy and antigen injections. Sometimes patients are injected with weakened or dead sources of viruses, allergens, and other pathogens to stimulate the immune system to make antibodies before the body comes in contact with a circulating strain of the illness. There are two main types of immunotherapy treatment. The first aims to increase the function of the immune system or to illicit an immune response, and the second aims to decrease the immune system when it overreacts to a particular stimulant.

One type of immunotherapy treatment involves giving the body large amounts of immune boosters to enhance the body’s response to illness. An example of this is vitamin C therapy, which involves the injection of large amounts of vitamin C directly into the bloodstream in order to strengthen the immune system. This is done to a lesser extent by individuals who take vitamins at home to ward off minor illnesses like the common cold. Since the immune system needs vitamins and antioxidants to function properly, giving it concentrated doses of them can heighten the effects.

Other immunotherapy treatment options involve injecting antigens against certain disease or cancers into the body. An antigen is any type of substance which sets the immune system into action against the creator of the substance, usually a virus or bacteria. When a vaccination is given, the person is injected with a dead or weakened version of a virus or another pathogen to stimulate the immune system to create antibodies against it. This allows the body to fight off the pathogen if it is encountered.

Immunotherapy is often used to prevent or alleviate allergy symptoms as well. Allergies occur when the immune system has a heightened response to something which is not harmful, or it reacts much more violently than necessary for a minor pathogen. By injecting patients with small amounts of certain allergens, the immune system learns to recognize them and stops creating as many antibodies. This helps to decrease symptoms in many people.

Diseases which can be fought with immunotherapy include various cancers, polio, whooping cough, and conditions like allergies and some other autoimmune diseases. More studies are being done to increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy, especially in cancer treatments. Several cancers are already treated using this technique, and more are being studied.

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