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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Biotherapy for cancer
Biotherapy, or biologic therapy, is treatment that uses living substances to treat disease. The substance may be a natural part of the body. Or it may be made in a lab, rather than by nature. For example, DNA or an antibody could be used in biotherapy.
Biotherapy can treat the cancer itself or side effects of cancer treatment. The treatments work in different ways and are used for many types of cancer. Biotherapy can be used on its own, with other types of biotherapy, or with traditional treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
There are many types of biotherapy for cancer. Some have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other types are still being researched. For these types of biotherapy, you may have to join a clinical trial to use them.
Immunotherapy and gene therapy are two types of biotherapy.
Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to treat an illness. This type of treatment can restore, boost, or redirect the immune system. Immunotherapy includes:
Gene therapy is a way to treat or prevent disease caused by abnormal genes. It can be done in several ways. A normal gene may be inserted to replace a gene that isn't working. An abnormal gene may be repaired. Or changes can be made to the gene so it doesn't continue to cause problems.
Some types of biotherapy have been studied or used longer than other types. It is important to ask your doctor about the research behind a type of biotherapy, why it might help you, and how likely it is to help you. Here are some questions to ask:
Current as ofDecember 19, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
December 19, 2018
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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