Integrative oncology meets immunotherapy: New prospects for combination therapy grounded in Eastern medical knowledge
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- Bodeker, G. Chin. J. Integr. Med. (2012) 18: 652. doi:10.1007/s11655-012-1201-0
As cancer rates rise globally, standard care is being questioned; new approaches involving immune therapies are emerging. With this shift comes a corresponding shift in the use and potential of herbal medicines and extracts. The focus of this article, which has evolved from a presentation at the Second Beijing International Symposium on Integrative Medicine (BISIM May 19–20, 2012), is particularly on Chinese medicine, but is generalizable to Eastern medicine more broadly and to other herbal traditions. Until recently, herbal and related treatments have been used as adjuvants to conventional care — for reducing side-effects, enhancing cytotoxicity, and sometimes, undesirably counteracting the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation. Now, in the context of a new class of immune-based cancer therapies, herbal and other complementary modalities are looked at as enhancers of the body’s immunity.