The immune system is always geared up and ready to go. Certain immune cells have molecules—called checkpoints—that must be turned on or off to move the immune system from “ready” to “action.” When this failsafe system doesn’t work, the immune system starts to attack normal organs. This can cause people to develop autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, some kinds of thyroid disease, and certain skin diseases.
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This video goes over drugs called checkpoint inhibitors and how they are able to get your immune system to kill cancer cells
These checkpoints typically work pretty well. But just like any security system they can be blocked, tricked, or overridden—and some cancer cells have figured out how to do just that. A new class of cancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors work by keeping the cancer cell from blocking the checkpoint. These drugs, which have been approved for certain types of cancers, are now being studied in breast cancer clinical trials.
You can learn more checkpoint inhibitors and other types of immunotherapy treatments here.
You can find breast cancer clinical trials studying checkpoint inhibitors here.