The human body is elegantly designed to heal itself, utilizing the immune system as its defense against various pathogens. Triggered by immune response signals, the immune system attacks and kills organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease. However, the immune system sometimes needs help in identifying and killing some invaders.
Cancer presents a complex and perplexing problem for effective immune system response, because it finds ways to hide from the immune system or block the immune system’s ability to battle against the disease. An important part of the immune system is its ability to differentiate between normal cells in the body and invaders. This differentiation allows the immune system to attack the invading cells while leaving normal cells alone. To achieve this, the immune system uses molecules on certain immune cells that need to be activated or inactivated to trigger an immune response. However, cancer cells can sometimes use these checkpoints to deceive the immune system and avoid being attacked. Newly developed drugs, known as checkpoint inhibitors, have shown some success in…
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