Immunotherapy for children's cancers

This information was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

Immunotherapy drugs target specific cancer cells. These drugs are often given with chemotherapy.

For example, rituximab is a treatment used to treat some types of lymphoma. It attaches itself to a particular protein on the cancer cell and triggers the body’s own immune system to attack and destroy the cancer cells. Because it targets specific cells, other parts of the body are not affected and the side effects are usually mild.

Imatinib (Glivec®) is another drug that’s mostly used to treat a particular form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and occasionally some other types of cancer. It works by blocking signals within cancer cells and preventing a series of chemical reactions that cause the cells to grow and divide.

Immunotherapy is only suitable for certain types of cancer. It's usually given with chemotherapy.

Children's cancer information from CCLG

This information about children’s cancer was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). It has been reviewed and edited by their publications committee, which includes medical experts from all fields of children’s cancer and care.

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Alternative treatments

Alternative treatments are unproven therapies that aim to treat cancer. They may cause problems when used with or without conventional treatments.