The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and other “germs.” The immune system is also important in preventing and fighting cancer. Cancer can survive by blocking your immune system’s ability to detect and fight cancer.
Cancer patients often have a weakened immune system. One way that cancer weakens the immune system is by turning off the immune cells so that they are no longer able to fight the cancer. This may allow for the tumor to continue growing. If the tumor is removed, a weakened immune system may allow the cancer to come back.
Many scientists believe that your immune system can better fight cancer if it gets a signal to “wake up” and help it recognize hidden cancer.
IRX-2, the drug being investigated in the INSPIRE study, contains natural chemical messengers that may help the immune system work better, in part by directing T cells and NK cells to multiply and move into a tumor where they can attack the cancer cells.
Scientists believe IRX-2 may help the immune system better fight oral cancer.
IRX-2 is only available as part of a clinical study. It is not yet known if IRX‑2 will help people with oral cancer live longer or better.