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Immunotherapy at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

What Is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy — sometimes called biotherapy (biological therapy) — works with the immune system to treat cancer.

The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism. When it detects a threat, it reacts. We call this the immune response.

A strong immune system works to seek and destroy damaged and abnormal cells.

Sometimes, the immune system isn’t strong enough on its own. Immunotherapy enhances the actions of the immune system to fight cancer cells.

How Does Immunotherapy Work?

The immune system consists of organs and cells throughout the body, such as:

  • The spleen
  • Lymph nodes
  • The lymphatic vessels and fluids
  • Certain cells in the liver and bone marrow
  • White blood cells

Immunotherapy uses concentrated amounts of the body's natural substances — called biologic agents — to push the immune system to work even harder.

Immunotherapy works by further stimulating the immune response.

If the white blood cells aren't strong enough to fight cancer cells on their own, biologic agents can give the system a boost by changing the chemical environment of the cancer.

Your care team may also take cells from your body, alter them in a lab to make them stronger, and then return them to your body.

Immunotherapy Treatment at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is a leader in immunotherapy research and development. Our experts work together to decide the best approach for your type of cancer and unique needs.

Our robust cancer clinical trials program also means you often have early access to therapies that may not be available elsewhere.

Contact Us About Medical Oncology and Chemotherapy

To learn more about medical oncology and chemotherapy or to make an appointment, you can: