Conventional Immunotherapy in a Nutshell

Advancing Immunotherapy through Molecular and Cellular Research

Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, treats cancer using the body’s own immune system to fight the disease. Through a range of techniques, immunotherapy can: Stop or slow the growth of cancer cells Stop cancer from spreading to new parts of the body, also called metastasis Help the immune system better destroy cancer cells

Understanding Immunotherapy

Under normal circumstances, our immune system naturally helps our bodies fight off germs and disease, keeping us healthy. However, cancer cells are often invisible to our immune system which means our bodies can’t detect the disease in order to fight it. This is one reason cancer can be difficult to treat.

With advancements in research and technology, more and more therapies are becoming available that allow our immune systems to spot and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy gives our bodies the needed boost to fight the cancer by finding ways to use natural materials from our bodies or materials created in a laboratory to:

  • Improve our overall immune system functions
  • Give our bodies what it needs to better target specific cancers
  • Restore our immune system functions if they are compromised

Goals of Immunotherapy Treatment

As cancer care has advanced through research and discovery at cancer center programs of excellence, a range of immunotherapy treatments are now available. At the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, types of immunotherapy include:

  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Non-specific immunotherapies
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Oncolytic virus therapy

Immune Monitoring Shared Resource Supports Research Efforts

Researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center and other biomedical scientists are supported by the Immune Monitoring Shared Resource team. For immunologic and biological assistance for research projects and clinical trials, a range of services are available, including:

  • Luminex cytokine assays
  • Large and small scale ELISA assays
  • ELISPOT Assays

Find more information about current immunotherapy research projects through recent news releases:

Research explains limits of cancer immunotherapy drugs

U-M develops promising new therapies for treating brain tumors

Immune cells found to fuel colon cancer stem cells

Some immune cells appear to aid cancer cell growth

Cancer stem cell vaccine in development shows antitumor effect


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