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Biological Response Modifiers

Alternate Names

  • immunotherapy
  • immune therapy

Definition

Biological response modifiers (BRMs) are substances that help to fight infections. Many of these substances can be found naturally in small amounts in the body. BRMs are produced in the laboratory in larger amounts and then injected into the body to treat cancer. Sometimes the BRMs are combined with chemotherapy drugs. This helps to improve the effect of the chemotherapy. However, BRMs are not effective against most cancers.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

This form of therapy is offered to a person whose cancer may be sensitive to BRMs. Cancer in an early stage is more likely to respond to BRMs than later stages of the disease.

How is the procedure performed?

BRMs are most often given by injection into tissue or into a vein. This method gets the medications into the body quickly. Some BRMs are injected directly into a tumor or near a tumor.

Sources

Kim, B. (1996). Biologic therapy in Cancer Management: A Multidisciplinary Approach. PRR: Huntington, NY. Pp. 581-592.

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