3 Exciting Applications of Immunotherapy


By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Immunotherapy is treatment of a disease by inducing, enhancing or suppressing an immune response. Some types of immunotherapy only target certain cells of the immune system, while others affect the immune system in a general way. Here are a few examples of immunotherapy treatments being used today:


Cancer immunotherapy is designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer by using substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. According to the National Cancer Institute, many different types of immunotherapy are used to treat different cancers; these include T-cell therapy, monoclonal antibodies and cancer vaccines, to name but a few. For example, monoclonal antibodies (drugs that are designed to bind to specific targets in the body) can cause an immune response that destroys cancer cells. Another type, adoptive cell transfer, is a treatment that attempts to boost the natural ability of T-cells to fight cancer.


Allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a form of long-term treatment that decreases symptoms for many people with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, conjunctivitis (eye allergy) or stinging insect allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Allergy shots decrease sensitivity to allergens and often lead to lasting relief of allergy symptoms even after treatment is stopped. This makes it a cost-effective, beneficial treatment approach for many people.


Warts are benign epidermal tumors caused by human papilloma viruses (HPV). The human body’s immune response plays a major role in controlling human papilloma virus (HPV) infections, notes the National Institutes of Health. Therefore, a host of techniques, including immunotherapy, are being refined with the goal of activating the immunologic response to attack and clear the HPV-triggered cutaneous warts.

RXi Pharmaceuticals is studying Samcyprone™, a topical immunomodulator that works by initiating a T-cell response. T-cells, also known as T lymphocytes, are a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in cell-mediated immunity. Samcyprone™ is a proprietary topical formulation of diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP), a small molecule that has been used since the late 1970s to stimulate the T-cell response to result in a reduction or clearance of cutaneous warts.

“Samcyprone is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 clinical trial as a novel treatment to harness the immune system to potentially clear cutaneous warts,” says Dr. Geert Cauwenbergh, President and CEO of RXi Pharmaceuticals. “This could be the key to more effective therapy, not only for the treatment of warts, but for other autoimmune skin diseases, such as alopecia areata, where DPCP has been used successfully since the late 1970s to reduce the hair loss associated with this disease.”

Efficacy with DPCP has been reported in peer-reviewed journals for warts, alopecia areata and cutaneous metastasis of melanoma. Samcyprone™ is being studied for treatment of cutaneous metastases of melanoma and alopecia areata in investigator-sponsored trials.

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