Immunotherapy Cost in India: Seeking Affordability

Cancer cells are equipped in many ways to evade the immune system. They effectively hide away from the immune cells or suppress their activity. So the human immune system is incapable of identifying and attacking these cancerous cells. Immunotherapy, an advanced and relatively new method of cancer treatment addresses this issue.

Immunotherapy works to enhance or equip the immune system of the patient to fight against cancerous cells. While not as effective on its own, this technique supports the effects of other treatments by making the cancer cells more vulnerable.

Read on to learn more about how immunotherapy works, the immunotherapy cost, and the factors affecting the cost of this treatment.

What is Immunotherapy?

The use of immunotherapy for allergies is a common practice, but this technique is fairly new in the cancer field.

Immunotherapy works in one of the following two ways:

  • It makes the cancer cells more vulnerable, allowing the immune cells to identify and attack them. Or,
  • It introduces synthetic or modified immune cells that can identify and act against the cancerous cells in the patient’s body.

It is a targeted therapy focused on undoing the masking of cancerous cells and making them targets for immunological detection and killing. This treatment technique is often offered during stage III or IV of different forms of cancer when the frontline treatment methods have no significant effect. Also, it is used along with a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or other treatments. For now, immunotherapy is not available for all cancer patients but only for some eligible candidates.

Types of Immunotherapy

Experts have studied several different approaches to immunotherapy for cancer.

  • Monoclonal antibodies make the cancer cells visible to the immune cells.
  • Cytokines interfere with the growth and division of cancer cells
  • Checkpoint inhibitors neutralize the inhibitory proteins of cancer cells and make them vulnerable to the killer T-lymphocytes.
  • Cancer vaccines work similarly to other vaccines; they identify the abnormal cancer cells, inhibit their growth, and prevent the recurrence of these cells.
  • Adoptive Cell Therapy is still in the clinical trial stage; it involves taking T-lymphocyte cells from patients, genetically altering them to detect and kill cancer cells, and then multiplying and transfusing them back into the patient’s body.

While some of these methods are being practiced, others require some more work to be made available to the public.

What is the Cost of Immunotherapy in India?

India offers high-quality immunotherapy at a much lower price than most developed countries. The treatment centers in India are equipped with top-notch facilities and the latest technology. Immunotherapy, like other cancer treatments, is offered here at a much more affordable price than in foreign countries.

The immunotherapy cost in India, however, is higher than the usual cancer treatments in the country. This is because this method uses patented drugs that have to be imported and an advanced technology that requires extensive screening and close monitoring.

You can consult with your cancer care team and your insurance agent about the overall expenses of the treatment.

Factors Affecting the Immunotherapy Cost in India

Immunotherapy cost, India, varies based on several factors. Some of the major ones are discussed further.

1. Satge of Cancer

The level of metastasis of the cancer decides how extensive the treatment has to be. If the cancer is regional, the treatment can be focused on a single site. Whereas in metastasized cancer, the treatment takes on a more extensive approach.

2. Type of Cancer

Cells from different forms of cancer have distinct features. Therefore, based on the type of cancer, the drug used and the treatment approach vary.

3. Health Status of the Patient

Immunotherapy works on the immunological construct of the patient. So if the person is in relatively good health, their immune system can be more active and functioning. For patients in poor physical health, more treatment sessions and drugs might be needed.

4. Number of Sessions

The total number of sessions of immunotherapy depends on the type and stage of cancer and the patient’s overall health. This affects the overall immunotherapy cost.

5. Drugs Used

Different cases require different drugs. Based on the type and amount of drug used, the treatment cost varies.

6. Treatment Plan

Immunotherapy is almost always administered with other treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. So the overall treatment plan majorly decides the final cost.

Affordable Immunotherapy Treatment in India

Immunotherapy for cancer is still in the developing stage. Experts are performing extensive studies and many advances remain to be made before this technique comes into the mainstream cancer treatment. However, the concept and methodology of the technique are promising.

With experienced and highly skilled oncologists and the availability of advanced facilities, effective immunotherapy can be administered in India at highly economical prices. Considering the major difference between the cost of immunotherapy in India and other foreign countries, India can be a significant host to this treatment in the near future.

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