Day 49 – Q 1. What is immunotherapy? What are its applications? Illustrate. 

  • IASbaba
  • August 5, 2020
  • 0
GS 3, Sci & Technology, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. What is immunotherapy? What are its applications? Illustrate. 

इम्यूनोथेरेपी क्या है? इसके अनुप्रयोग क्या हैं? उदाहरण देकर स्पष्ट करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to write about the immunotherapy and its applications with relevant examples.


Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defences against any disease or infection. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function.


In recent years, immunotherapy has become of great interest to researchers, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies, particularly in its promise to treat various forms of cancer.

  • Immunotherapy tries to help the immune system recognise cancer as a threat, and attack it.
  • Rather than attacking the disease directly, as chemotherapy does in cancer, immunotherapy tries to rally the patient’s own immune system to fight the disease.
  • Immune system is a network of cells, tissues and bio chemicals they secrete. It defends the body against the viruses, bacteria and other invaders.
  • For example, Immunotherapy involves drugs that free immune cells to fight cancer. These drugs blocks a mechanism called checkpoint. Checkpoint is used by cancer to shut down the immune system.

Applications of Immunotherapy:

  • Recent use of immunotherapy to treatment of AIDS: Scientists used two prevalent anti-HIV antibodies which were inserted in test animal i.e. here Monkey after it is infected with the virus similar to HIV . In response to these anti-biotic monkeys showed improved immunity to fight with the virus in linger period .
  • Novel developments in immunotherapy have led to a new era in cancer treatment. Immunotherapy looks like a promising new strategy for cancer treatment . It may be able to control tumour growth and has fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
  • A sub part of Immunotherapy is Immune enhancement therapy. Autologous immune enhancement therapy use a person’s own peripheral blood-derived natural killer cells, and other relevant immune cells are expanded in vitro and then re-infused. 
  • The therapy has been tested against Hepatitis C and Chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Suppression immunotherapy’s: Immune suppression dampens an abnormal immune response in autoimmune diseases or reduces a normal immune response to prevent rejection of transplanted organs or cells.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs help manage organ transplantation and autoimmune disease. Immune responses depend on lymphocyte proliferation.
  • Immune tolerance therapies seek to reset the immune system so that the body stops mistakenly attacking its own organs or cells in autoimmune disease or accepts foreign tissue in organ transplantation.
  • Immunotherapy is used to treat allergies. While allergy treatments (such as antihistamines or corticosteroids) treat allergic symptoms, immunotherapy can reduce sensitivity to allergens, lessening its severity.

Though Immunotherapy shows prospects of promising future in strengthening the immune system of the body, it has some drawbacks too:

  • The area where the medication goes into body could hurt, itch, swell, turn red, or get sore.
  • Some types of immunotherapy rev up  immune system and make the person feel like having a flu, complete with fever, chills, and fatigue.


New advancements in the field of healthcare have improved the life expectancy of a person. The emerged field of immunotherapy in the healthcare sector has shown promising trends in healing cancer like incurable diseases. Further investment in research and creating a necessary skilled workforce can immensely benefit the health of a person in turn contributing for socio-economic welfare. 

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