Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
17 Feb 2021
7:57 am

Immunotherapy hailed as ‘treatment of hope’ against cancer

Sipho Mabena

Prohibitive cost means it won’t be available for patients in the public sector unless someone gives it to them for free.

In recent years, doctors have turned to a new treatment for cancer, immunotherapy, which works by leveraging the body's immune system to fight tumours. © Ugreen / Istock.com

Immunotherapy, a biological therapy that works by helping the immune system fight cancer, has been hailed as a treatment of hope, with experts pointing to evidence it literally plucked patients from the jaws of certain death. According to global pharmaceutical company MSD, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, with around one in six deaths due to the disease. In 2018, about 9.6 million people died of cancer in South Africa alone and the burden of cancer continues to grow, according to MSD. It was ranked as the second leading cause of death in SA in...