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Alice Springs
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Gold Coast
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Click the indexes to view the minimum recommended protection

When the UV index is low, sun protection is generally not needed unless outside for extended periods

UV observations courtesy of ARPANSA

Immunotherapy and Biological Therapy


What is Immunotherapy?

This is the name given to any treatment that utilises the body's own immune system to fight disease.  This may occur by eliciting, enhancing or suppressing a natural immune response. There are a number of treatments that fall in this category.

Anti PD1 drugs:

In the simplest possible terms, these drugs are antibodies that block the on/off switch on a type of white cell (T-cell).  Specifically, melanoma tumors produce a substance that 'turns off' these T cells, so they do not attack the melanoma.  These drugs block that action so that the T-cells stay switched on and can now attack melanoma cells.


CTLA4 drugs:

Another of the body's white cells are the cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) which can recognize and destroy cancer cells. However, another inhibitory process, similar to that described above, interrupts this destruction. These drugs turn off this inhibitory mechanism and allow CTL's to function and attack the melanoma cells.


Immunotherapy Side Effects

This youtube clip of a presentation by Dr Lipson from Johns Hopkins University talks about the side effects associated with the newer immunotherapy treatments and how they differ from chemotherapy side effects.

What is Biological Therapy?

Biological therapy involves the use of living organisms, substances derived from living organisms, or laboratory-produced versions of such substances to treat disease. In the case of cancer treatment most biological therapies take the form of vaccines or bacteria.  These therapies stimulate the body’s immune system to act against cancer  cells rather than target them directly.  This is why most biological therapies are also a type of immunotherapy.