Biological Therapy Offered by Mercy's Expert Cancer Doctors

Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Biological therapy can be used to treat certain cancers, including brain cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, melanoma and pancreatic cancer. At Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy, in Baltimore, Maryland, our doctors offer patients comprehensive cancer care including biological therapy. 

What is Biological Therapy?

Biological therapy, also known as immunotherapy, biological response modifier therapy, or biotherapy, is a treatment used to energize or rebuild the immune system. The immune system is made up of organs and cells that fight infection as well disease such as cancer. It also is used to protect the body from the side effects associated with other cancer treatments. 

Biological therapy may be used in conjunction with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

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How does Biological Therapy work?

Biological therapies either directly or indirectly help energize the immune system in the following ways:

  • Help the immune system to recognize cancer cells
  • Increase the immune system’s ability to destroy cells
  • Redirect the growth of cancer cells to perform more like healthy cells
  • Interrupt the formation of healthy cells into cancerous cells
  • Energize the body to restore healthy cells damaged from other cancer treatments  
  • Stop cancer cells from metastasizing to other parts of the body
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Types of Biological Therapy

The most common types of biological therapy include:

  • Anti-angiogenesis – prevents the creation of new blood vessels needed for cancer cells to spread
  • Immunotherapy – helps restore and energize the body’s normal capacity to attack cancer. Interferon and interleukin-2 treatments are types of immunotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy – integrates non-chemotherapy drugs to target a certain cancer cell. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, targeted therapy does not damage healthy cells and has fewer side effects.
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How is Biological Therapy performed?

Biological therapy can be performed by injection into the veins, an organ or a cavity of the body. Biological therapy may also be administered to patients as part of clinical research studies or clinical trials. These studies evaluate the impact of biological therapy on cancer treatment. Your Mercy medical oncologist can provide information about the clinical trials offered at Mercy. 

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Who should receive Biological Therapy?

Not everyone is good candidate for biological therapy. Your doctor will help you decide if biological therapy is a good treatment option for your type of cancer. Biological therapy can be used for patients with the following cancers:

  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Pancreas
NEXT: When is Biological Therapy the best option? ›
When is Biological Therapy the best option?

Depending on your type of cancer, your medical oncologist at Mercy will develop a treatment plan based on the best possible outcome with the goal to target cancer cells, stop tumor or slow down tumor growth and prevent the cancer from spreading.  

NEXT: What side effects are associated with Biological Therapy? ›
What side effects are associated with Biological Therapy?

The common side effects associated with biological therapy may include the following:

  • Chills or fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Swelling
  • Weakness