As more treatments known as immunotherapies for cancer emerge, here are some terms to know:
Immunotherapy: Forms of treatment that use or boost your own immune system to fight cancer.
T cells: White blood cells that fight disease by tracking and destroying certain infected or abnormal cells.
Checkpoint inhibitors: Immunotherapy drugs like the brand Keytruda used to treat former President Jimmy Carter. They block one path that tumors use to repel an immune attack.
Cellular immunotherapy: A type of immunotherapy using living immune cells that are collected from a patient, grown or modified in a lab, and returned to the patient to continue growing in the body as they track and fight cancer. Also called adoptive cell therapy.
CAR-T cell therapy: One type of cellular immunotherapy, genetically engineering a patient’s own T cells to grow a “chimeric antigen receptor,” or CAR, that zeroes in on their specific cancer.
Cytokine release syndrome: A common side effect of CAR-T therapy, an immune overreaction that can cause fevers, low blood pressure and other symptoms; severe cases can be life-threatening.