Spinal Cancer Immunotherapy
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Immunotherapy for Spinal Cancer
The medical oncologists at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) may use a variety of immunotherapies to eliminate spinal tumors.
Immunotherapies (also called biological therapies) and targeted therapies for spinal cancer work to (1) stimulate the immune system to turn against a spinal tumor, or (2) target specific pathways or abnormalities in spinal tumor cells involved in tumor growth.
One targeted therapy used for spinal tumors is AvastinTM (bevacizumab), which is given intravenously. A monoclonal antibody, this spinal cancer treatment works to stop the formation of new blood vessels that a tumor needs to grow (a process known as angiogenesis).
A common immunotherapy for spinal cancer is a drug called Gleevac®. This drug works by helping the body produce larger amounts of substances called biological response modifiers, which help fight disease.
Another drug therapy, Everolimus (Afinitor®) is taken as a pill. It works to block a cell protein known as mTOR, which normally promotes cell growth and division.
Your CTCA care team will likely combine immunotherapy / targeted therapy with other spinal cancer treatments, like chemotherapy. This treatment is often an option for spinal cancer patients who have a tumor recurrence after previous brain cancer treatments.
Managing Side Effects of Spinal Cancer Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy / targeted therapy can cause side effects, such as low blood counts, tiredness, mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and fluid buildup (usually in the legs).
Throughout your spinal cancer treatment, your CTCA care team provides various supportive therapies, like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine, and oncology rehabilitation, to keep you strong, reduce side effects and improve your quality of your life.
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