Biological Therapy

Biological therapy is a type of treatment that works with your immune system. It can help fight cancer or help control side effects (how your body reacts to the drugs you are taking) from other cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

Doctors are not sure how biological therapy helps your immune system fight cancer. But they think it may:

  • Stop or slow the growth of cancer cells.
  • Make it easier for your immune system to destroy, or get rid of, cancer cells.
  • Keep cancer from spreading to other parts of your body.

There are many kinds of biological therapy, some common ones are:


Treatments for cancer:


  • BCG or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (ba-SIL-us KAL-met gay-RAIN) treats bladder tumors or bladder cancer.
  • IL-2 or Interleukin-2 (in-ter-LOO-kin 2) treats certain types of cancer.
  • Interferon alpha (in-ter-FEER-on AL-fa) treats certain types of cancer.
  • Rituxan or Rituximab (ri-TUX-i-mab) treats non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Herceptin (her-SEP-tin) or Trastuzumab treats breast cancer.


Treatments for controlling side effects:


  • Neupogen (NU-po-jen) or G-CSF increases white blood cell counts and helps prevent infection in people who are getting chemotherapy.
  • Procrit, Epogen, or Erythropoietin (e-RITH-ro-po-i-tin) helps make red blood cells in people who have anemia.
  • IL-11, Interleukin-11, Oprelvekin (oh-PREL-ve-kin), or Neumega helps make platelets (a type of blood cell).

Search for clinical trials in Georgia.

References in this section:

Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's PDQ Database: . (Accessed July 2016)