Look to UC San Diego Health for the most advanced immunotherapies to treat your cancer.
We're among a select group of cancer centers nationwide that is actively working to expand your treatment options with new immunotherapy approaches. Our immunotherapy program is led by world-renowned physician-scientist Ezra Cohen, MD.
What Is Cancer Immunotherapy?
Cancer immunotherapy is a treatment that harnesses your own immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy drugs do not directly target tumors. They activate or train your immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Some immunotherapies are now standard treatment for certain cancers, while others are only available at our Precision Immunotherapy Clinic.
Types of Immunotherapy
We offer many types of immunotherapy to treat your disease. Each works differently, but they all influence your immune system's ability to recognize and fight cancer.
These are antibodies that interfere with cancer cells' ability to evade immune system attacks. These drugs are used to treat many types of cancer, including melanoma, lung cancer, kidney and bladder cancers, head and neck cancers, and lymphoma.
CAR T-Cell Therapy
This therapy involves collecting and using your own white blood cells to treat your cancer. Your doctor may recommend CAR T-cell therapy for certain non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
This therapy uses proteins called interferons and interleukins, produced by white blood cells, to activate your immune system to kill cancer cells. Interleukin-2 and interferon alpha are cytokine therapies for melanoma, kidney cancer, and certain blood cancers.
Cancer vaccines help the body recognize and more effectively destroy cancer cells. Some treatment vaccines are injections. Others require doctors to collect blood, enrich it with cells, and then re-infuse the mixture intravenously. Treatment vaccines are only available through participation in a pilot research study or clinical trial.
Video: Treating Cancer with a Personalized Vaccine
Advantages of Immunotherapy
Here are three potential advantages of including immunotherapy in your treatment plan.
1. The therapy can reach diseased areas that surgeons cannot.
2. It can attack cancer cells that are not rapidly dividing but are still capable of spreading the disease.
3. It can train the immune system's "memory cells" for long-term anti-cancer protection.
Immunotherapy Specialists A team approach to your care
At UC San Diego Health, your cancer care is led by a multidisciplinary team of doctors who specialize in your type of cancer. Highly specialized multidisciplinary care is a hallmark of top-tier academic medical centers such as UC San Diego Health. For patients like you, it means you receive the highest level of care. Find an immunotherapy specialist.
Patient & Family Supportive Services
At UC San Diego Health, your care goes beyond treating disease. It also includes supporting you and your loved ones emotionally during your cancer journey. Most of our support services are free.