Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Biologic Therapy

Biological therapy is a treatment that works with the immune system. All the parts of the immune system help protect you from getting diseases and infection. The immune system includes the: 

  • Spleen
  • Lymph nodes
  •  Tonsils
  • Bone marrow
  • White blood cells

White blood cells are particularly important to the immune system. Here are some terms you might hear:

  • Monocytes and lymphocytes are types of white blood cells.
  • B cells, T cells, and Natural killer cells are types of lymphocytes.

The immune system is able to tell the difference between good cells that keep you healthy and bad cells that make you sick.

Biological therapy can serve two purposes. First, it can help fight cancer by:

  • Stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.
  • Making it easier for the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
  • Keeping cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.

Biological therapy can also help control side effects from other treatments like chemotherapy.

Cancer vaccines are one form of biological therapy. Other vaccines are given before you get sick, but cancer vaccines are given once you have cancer. These vaccines help the body fight the cancer and keep it from returning.  

Return to list of treatment options. 

Back to “Understanding Colorectal Cancer: An Introduction”