What is Immune checkpoint therapy?

  • It’s the process of treating cancer cell by releasing the existing brake system within the human immune system to fight the cells.
  • Two proteins are involved in the brake process—one is PD-1 (Tasuku Honjo discovered in 1992) and the other CTLA-4 (James P Allison studied during the 1990s).
  • Both the proteins work as brakes in the immune system, which includes T-cell, a type of white blood cells, involved in fighting the foreign body.
  • When either of the proteins binds with the T-cell, it stops fighting the foreign body and eventually the defense’s shield is broken.
  • In some cases, some cancer cells also contain these proteins which allow the cells to invade the body without much struggle.
  • Both scientists have worked on inhibiting these brakes, so that the immune system continues to fight and is capable of fighting against cancer.


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