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Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells, in much the same way that it attacks bacteria or viruses. Immunotherapy has become a recent treatment option for patients with cancer and an essential part of our personalized approach to precision medicine. At Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, immunotherapy is part of how we provide better outcomes while focusing on patient care with humankindness.

When is immunotherapy needed?

Immunotherapy activates or suppresses your body’s immune system, allowing your cells to treat the cancer. In recent years, there have been major advances in this field of cancer treatment. As an innovative leader in clinical research, Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s utilizes various types of immunotherapies for a variety of conditions, including:

Relaxing Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy Environment

The Infusion Center is designed for patient and family comfort, with soft lights, five private infusion rooms and four infusion recliners.

All of the infusion areas are equipped with comfortable recliners with trays for reading, activities or laptop use. We provide soft blankets, snacks and drinks and wireless access for laptops. Our private rooms all have flat-screen televisions. Free lunches are provided for appointments held during the lunch hour.

We make every attempt to provide a holistic and welcoming setting for patients and visitors. Friends and family are welcome to visit while you receive treatment. We also provide many services that complement the chemo experience, such as nutrition counseling and a patient navigator who can help with wig and scarf needs.

Types of Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy can be given in the form of drugs, which means that we extract and modify a patient’s own immune cells before infusing them back into the body. We are utilizing immunotherapies every day in many types of tumors and different cancer types. Immunotherapy treatment options include:

  • Checkpoint Inhibitors – Release a natural brake on your immune system so that immune cells called T cells recognize and attack tumors.
  • Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines – Train your body to protect itself against its own damaged or abnormal cancer cells.
  • And coming soon, Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy – An approach in which a patient’s own immune cells are engineered to make a new protein, turning the cells into supercharged cancer fighters.

Multidisciplinary Approach to Cancer Care

Patients of Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s know they are receiving precision medicine from a multidisciplinary team of experienced cancer experts.