Immunotherapy and Genetics
Immunotherapy offers hope and healing for many people with cancer. If you want to know more about this treatment, you’ve come to the right place. We provide the latest immunotherapy options and clinical trials, and our specialists help you make an informed decision.
BJC HealthCare works with Washington University physicians, BJC Medical Group, and providers across the region to deliver extraordinary care. Our specialists are on the leading edge of cancer treatment. We provide advanced therapies in a warm, caring environment.
When you to come to us for immunotherapy and genetics treatment, you can expect:
- Expert team: Immunotherapy and genetics must be highly customized for each patient’s immune cells. Our experts look at your unique genetics to determine which treatment is best for you, which increases the chance of positive results.
- Infusion excellence: When you come to our infusion centers, we put your comfort first. Each center is staffed by compassionate, highly trained infusion nurses and support staff who provide you with blankets, snacks and a healing environment.
- World leaders: At Siteman Cancer Center, specialists are delivering the latest and most effective immunotherapy options available.
- Nurse navigator: As our patient, you receive access to a skilled, compassionate nurse navigator who helps you throughout your cancer care. Your nurse navigator schedules your appointments and helps you find resources for transportation, mental health and more.
- Research: Our physician scientists and researchers are at the forefront of the newest immunotherapy treatments. Through this research, our patients have access to therapies before they’re widely available.
Immunotherapy, also called biological therapy, uses your immune system to find and attack cancer cells. Your immune system doesn’t always see cancer cells as an invader, so it can’t fight them off. But with immunotherapy, doctors change or boost your immune system so it can spot cancer and attack it.
This treatment requires genetic testing to create a therapy plan based on your genetics. Our medical oncologists and geneticists work together to deliver the most effective immunotherapy for your needs.
Immunotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The type and dosage you need depends on your genetic test results and the tumor’s type, size, stage and location. We explain each detail of your treatment plan so you feel confident with the care you receive.
Not all cancer types respond to immunotherapy. But with emerging research and sophisticated genetic testing, experts are identifying more ways to treat cancer with these medicines.
Immunotherapy includes many different treatments that are highly tailored to each patient. Research has found that your genetics play an important role in how immunotherapy will work for you.
Our medical oncologists and geneticists use advanced genetic tests to determine which type of immunotherapy could help you. Our genetic counselors explain your results and empower you to make an informed decision. Based on your genetic test results, we may recommend:
- CAR T-cell therapy: This treatment takes some of your body’s immune cells and programs them to find and destroy cancer cells.
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors: These drugs tell your immune cells to respond more strongly to cancer cells.
- Immune system modulators: With this therapy, your natural immune response to cancer becomes stronger.
- Monoclonal antibodies: Usually given by infusion, this treatment uses immune proteins to spot cancer cells and tell your immune system to attack them.
- Vaccines: Cancer vaccines boost your immune system’s response to cancer cells. These vaccines can keep you from getting some types of cancer, but they don’t treat existing cancers.
Depending on the type of treatment you need, your immunotherapy may come in the form of:
- Infusion: An infusion nurse inserts a tube into your vein to deliver the treatment.
- Injection: We use a needle (shot) that delivers the medicine into your muscle.
- Intravesical: Our specialists insert a catheter (thin tube) directly into the area with cancer, such as your bladder.
- Oral: You swallow a pill or liquid.
- Topical: You apply a cream or gel to your skin.
Many different cancers respond to immunotherapy, and the list is growing with new research. Our oncologists are knowledgeable in the latest breakthroughs in immunotherapy and genetics. Their skill and expertise allow them to provide you with the most advanced, effective treatments available.
- Patient Story