Biotherapy at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

What Is Biotherapy?

Biotherapy (biological therapy) — sometimes called immunotherapy — works with the immune system to treat cancer.

The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism. When it detects a threat, it reacts. We call this the immune response.

A strong immune system works to seek and destroy damaged and abnormal cells.

Sometimes, the immune system isn’t strong enough on its own. Biotherapy enhances the actions of the immune system to fight cancer cells.

How Does Biotherapy Work?

The immune system consists of organs and cells throughout the body, such as:

  • The spleen
  • Lymph nodes
  • The lymphatic vessels and fluids
  • Certain cells in the liver and bone marrow
  • White blood cells

Biotherapy uses concentrated amounts of the body's natural substances — called biologic agents — to push the immune system to work even harder.

Biotherapy works by further stimulating the immune response.

If the white blood cells aren't strong enough to fight cancer cells on their own, biologic agents can give the system a boost by changing the chemical environment of the cancer.

Your care team may also take cells from your body, alter them in a lab to make them stronger, and then return them to your body.

Biotherapy Treatment at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is a partner with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, a leader in biotherapy research and development. Experts from both institutions work together to decide the best approach for your type of cancer and unique needs.

Our robust cancer clinical trials program also means you often have early access to therapies that may not be available elsewhere.

Contact Us About Biotherapy at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center offers a full range of medical oncology treatment options and knowledgeable experts throughout our extensive network.

To learn more about biotherapy or other medical oncology treatments at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, call us at 412-647-2811.