Biological therapy is a treatment that uses your body's immune system to fight cancer cells rather than attacking those cells directly. For carefully selected people, biological therapy may target cancer cells to avoid damage to normal cells, prevent or slow tumor growth, and prevent the spread of cancer cells. Although it can have side effects, typically this type of therapy is less invasive and less toxic than conventional cancer treatments are. Biological therapy for cancer includes immunotherapy, targeted therapy and therapy that inhibits the growth of blood vessels (anti-angiogenesis).

Biological therapy is sometimes a treatment option for certain people who have lymphoma, brain cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, colon cancer or lung cancer. Some people receive this therapy alone, while others are also treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. However, whether biological therapy is right for you depends on your type of cancer, how far it has spread, and other treatments you've tried.

Oct. 12, 2011