Traditionally, we’ve had three options to defeat cancer in veterinary patients: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. In recent years, however, we have begun to do more research into a fourth option: immunotherapy.
When we think of the immune system, we typically think about its ability to recognize and eliminate infectious disease. In reality, however, the immune system can serve the same role in recognizing and eliminating cancer.
Unfortunately, the process of recognizing and eliminating a tumor is much less straightforward than the process involved in recognizing and eliminating a bacterial infection. Tumors have a number of methods for evading the host immune responses, including the production of immunosuppressive cytokines and the alteration of dendritic cell maturation/functions.