Immunotherapeutics: a Veterinarian's Perspective

Published on: 3/25/2020
Author/s : Haroon Rashid Chaudhry / Lecturer IUB, Pakistan.
“Immunotherapeutics is the therapy which is done on or by immune system on the same host or on a different host utilizing chemicals, hormones, cells or proteins". There are two types of effects that are produced by the chemicals or drugs on immune system.
Chemicals/drugs that suppress the immune system . they are used in different diseases, eg as simple as allergy, organ transplant, hypersensitivity reactions, or cancer etc. these include simple daily use antihistamines, anti-inflammatory agents or the more complex treatment options for certain cancers like cyclophosphamide, corticosteroids, to antibiotics like tetracycline especially OTC and hormones, such as estrogen & progesterone.
Chemicals/drugs that stimulate the immune system. These include vitamins, almost all vitamins including the ones that work as antioxidents, minerals (Mg,Zn,Cu,Se) which act as cofactors for the enzymes and antioxidents, antibodies like penicillin, cephalosporin which upregulate the immune system by understood ways by general stimulation of the body. These also include organic antioxidents which are found in natural herbs, and spices which are ginger, aniseed, kalwanji (Black seed), ginseng, pollen B etc..
Note: Immuno-depression and Immuno-stimulation collectively done for certain immune processes collectively is termed as Immunomodulation. Immunotherapy or Immunomodulation is divided into two categories. Immunotherapeutics are also divided on the basis of host sensitization to disease. It may be called Immunotherapy which is divided into two classes mainly.
- Cell Therapy
- Serotherapy
Cell Therapy: It is relatively a new method in which a cell is modified to regulate the immune system. The cells used in this method are,
- Stem Cells
- Bone Marrow Cells
- Blood Cells
Cell Therapy is widely used in cancer therapy where it plays a vital role in diagnosis and treatment. Commercially, this method is implying on only humans but some animals (rats) are in trial research. The general protocol for this purpose is to collect blood from patient, isolated its T Cells, B cells or Thelper cells and add to it a marker or drug that bind to the Cell. This process is called Sensitization. Before Sensitization, we perform the antigen detection on cancerous cell.
Sensitization is done by two methods:
- Drugs
- Markers
After Sensitization, T Cells are grown in-vitro (Proliferation). Then we inject the blood back into the patient where these cells develop ability to detect, bind and destroy the cancerous cells.
- If we activate T Helper Cells, they will call other cells
- If we activate NK Cells, they will release cyocitidal perforins
- If we activate T cytokines, they will destroy cancerous cells
Actually transformed cells don’t work alone, we add Iodine (dye marker) to detect cancerous cells. T cytotoxic cells also destroy to the cancer cells, if we bind antibodies and anti-cancerous drugs to it, then they destroy cells by various line of actions. Note: We can use dendritic cells and B Cells for this purpose.

This therapy is done in the serum. It is divided into
- Human Serotherapy
- Veterinary Serotherapy
Humans have blood group that is very reactive. It means we can donate blood from one person to other (Patient). If recovered patient become patient again then we can’t administer him to the person with different blood group for blood transfusion.
Many researches are made on Horse but it is effective for one time not for 2 nd time due to Fc Factor (Specie Specific). Monoclonal antibodies are produced in mouse but he same issue of Fc factor retains. Then chimeric antibodies are formed that are used in Humans (Human Fc factor is attached to it).
Virus enter cells via specific receptors, if we cover these receptors with antibody this will neutralize the virus load. If we bind T Cells and T Cytotoxic Cells, then virus is destroyed by these cells.
In Veterinary, Serotherapy is main done in
- Cattle
- Dog
- Poultry
Immunotherapy means therapy of the immune system. It is also known as Serotherapy.
There are 3 ways to do serotherapy:
i. To transfuse blood
ii. To give T cells (cellular therapy)
iii. To transplant bone marrow (bone marrow/organ transplantation)
We take IGs, cells or transplant from the recovered animal to a diseased animal in an effort to provide readymade protection.
Usually within 72 hours.
i. Transplant (24 hours almost)
ii. IM injection (usually takes 8 hours)
iii. IV injection (immediate)
iv. Sub cutaneous injection (takes 24 hours)
- This therapy does not work against bacteria except few obligatory bacteria like Anthrax,
-Serotherapy works against those bacteria which are toxin based i.e secrete toxins because
it will neutralize the toxins
- It will work against venoms & bites
- It will be effective against viruses
Viruses against which serotherapy is done should not be mutating e.g FMD (cattle, buffaloe), PPR (sheep/goat), Parvo (dogs, cats), ND (poultry)
If 1600 cft units are given against FMD, it will stop
Cattle normally cures in one dose but two doses can be given
- If a cattle recovers against FMD, its serum will have 32-64 cft units antibodies
- If a cattle has vaccination title, its serum will have 16-32 cft units antibodies
- Blood transfusion from vaccinated animal = 32cft × 50ml = 1600 cft units
- Blood transfusion from a disease recovered animal = 64cft × 25ml = 1600 cft units
- You can take 10% of blood in relation to body weight e.g 4L from a 400kg cattle
- Requirement: 128 HA/HI (poorly documented)
- 200 ml blood is required for recovery
- Blood taken from goat of 50kg = 500 ml from 5L
- Blood taken from sheep of 35kg = 350ml from 3.5L
- 50ml blood is required for recovery
- Blood taken from a dog of 20kg = 200ml from 2L
- 30ml blood is required for recovery
- Blood taken from a cat of 3kg = 300ml from 3L
- In poultry, egg yolk is rich in IGy antibodies. Egg yolk is about 18-22ml
- Normal HA/HI titre in yolk = 128-256 HA/HI/ml in laying hens 23 week old
- For protection: 64HA/HI (single time), 32HA/HI (two times)
- IGy is the modern antibody
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