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Types of biological therapy

There are a number of different types of biological therapy. Find out more about what they are, how they work and general information about side effects.  

Monoclonal antibodies (MAB)

MABs are a type of biological therapy. Monoclonal just means all one type. So each MAB is a lot of copies of one type of antibody. MABs are made in a laboratory.

Cancer growth blockers

Cancer growth blockers are also called cancer growth inhibitors. They are a type of biological therapy which might be able to stop cancer cells growing.

Drugs that block cancer blood vessel growth (anti angiogenics)

Anti angiogenics are drugs that stops cancers from growing blood vessels. This slows the growth of cancer or sometimes shrink it.

Blood cell growth factors

Blood cell growth factors can be part of treatment if you have a very low white blood cell count and are at risk of getting infections. Researchers are now looking into using them as a way of treating cancer.

Gene therapy

Gene therapy is a type of biological therapy for cancer that is still in the early stages of research.

Interferon and Interleukin 2

Interferon alpha and interleukin 2 (aldesleukin) are treatments that can help to boost the immune system. They are a treatment for some types of cancer.

Cancer vaccines

Cancer vaccines are a type of biological therapy. Research in this area is at an early stage and vaccines are mainly available as part of clinical trials. 

Last reviewed: 
11 Dec 2014

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