Williams Cancer Institute

Immune Checkpoints Inhibitors

Immune Checkpoints Inhibitors block proteins called Checkpoints by some immune cells and cancer cells. These checkpoints proteins help keep immune responses from being too strong and harming your body and sometimes can keep T cells from killing cancer cells. When these checkpoints are blocked, T cells can kill cancer cells better.

When these checkpoint proteins bond with their ligands, they send an “off” signal to the T cells, and that’s how your immune system doesn’t recognize tumor cells as something to be destroyed.

In the last years, the study of these Checkpoints proteins has been the subject of more investigations for creating new kinds of therapies to fight cancer; one of immunotherapy’s approaches is to block those checkpoint proteins from binding to their ligands resulting in dis-inhibition of tumor-specific immune response allowing T cells to fight cancer cells.

Examples of Immune checkpoint Inhibitors previously discussed are Opdivo and Keytruda, which bind to PD-1 (programmed death cell protein 1) and, by so, block PD-1 ligands and awaken your immune response to recognize and fight cancer cells.

Cancer National Institute

Reference: Terese Winslow, Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors , https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/immunotherapy/checkpoint-inhibitors

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