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Scientists making progress in less toxic cancer treatment called immunotherapy

Scientists are making progress using immunotherapy to fight cancer
Scientists are making progress using immunotherapy to fight cancer 01:12

BOSTON - Scientists are making progress in using less toxic immunotherapy instead of traditional chemotherapy to fight cancer.

Chemotherapy is very effective at treating a variety of cancers, but it not only attacks cancer cells, it kills healthy cells as well, causing serious side effects.  

For decades, scientists have been searching for less toxic options. One approach is immunotherapy, which uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer cells, including cytokines.  

Cytokines are small protein molecules that can act as messengers between immune cells. Ordinarily, if cytokines are injected into the body, they can jump-start immune cells in tumors to kill cancer cells, but like chemo, they can also harm healthy cells.  

Now, researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a way to keep these cytokines in the tumors and away from healthy cells.  

They're hoping this new approach can be used along with already FDA-approved therapies to improve the effectiveness and safety of cancer treatments.

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