There is no more emotionally charged and frightening word than cancer. When spoken in a doctor’s office, patients immediately assume the worst and start counting their days. Most patients consider a cancer diagnosis a death sentence. When cancer screenings detect an abnormality they panic, subjecting their bodies to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in a desperate bid to live. And even if they survive cancer, most live in constant fear that it will return.
A National Cancer Institute advisory panel sent shock waves coursing through the cancer community this week when scientists recommended that:
The definition of cancer be redefined and updated to reflect modern scientific and medical findings. One of the problems with cancer diagnosis, Dr. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society’s chief medical officer, told CNN Health is that oncologists are still using cancer definitions developed in the 1850s. Back then, cancer typically spread through the body before it was diagnosed. Today, cancer screening methods allow oncologists to examine minute samples measured in millimeters. In evaluating such small tissue samples, natural abnormalities can be misdiagnosed as cancer.
The diagnoses of certain illnesses be changed to eliminate cancer references or cancer language. In other words, some diseases currently defined as cancer would no longer be considered cancerous. As explained in a CBS News report, there are certain potentially pre-cancerous conditions that carry only a slight risk of becoming cancerous. Yet because they are defined as “cancer,” “carcinoma” or “neoplasia” patients panic and often undergo unnecessary surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, frequently suffering damaging side effects.
Next time: Do cancer screenings result in overtreatment
Immunotherapy is changing the cancer treatment landscape. Advancements in targeted cell therapy may make chemotherapy obsolete within our lifetime. The biggest problem with traditional cancer treatments — chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — is that they destroy healthy tissue along with diseased cancerous tissue. By shifting the battle field from the tissue level to the cellular level, targeted cell therapy aims to destroy only cancerous cells, leaving healthy cells whole and untouched.
Like other immunotherapy cancer treatments, targeted cell therapy makes use of the body’s own disease-fighting mechanism, the immune system. The immune system employs two methods of fighting cancer and other pathogens that attack the body:
The immune system floods the area under attack with antibodies, free-floating proteins that search out and lock onto invading pathogens.
T-cells generated by the immune system seek out and destroy invading pathogens.
While some immunotherapy treatments focus on boosting the effectiveness of the body’s immune system, targeted cell therapy concentrates on the immune system’s most lethal soldiers, T-cells. The cancer community is improving its ability to direct T-cell receptors to target, bind to and destroy very specific types of cells, including cancer cells.
As reported previously, the British company Immunocore has engineered an artificial T-cell receptor that readily binds cancer cells to T-cells without interfering with healthy cells. Immunocore’s artificial receptor differentiates cancerous from healthy cells by recognizing the unique patterns of small proteins that protrude from the surface of different types of cells.
Issels Integrated Oncology offers two Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccines that harness the body’s immune system and its cancer-annihilating T-cells to fight cancer at the cellular level.
With a mortality rate of 96%, pancreatic cancer is considered the deadliest type of cancer, all but incurable. But a growing number of studies suggest that an alternative cancer treatment, immunotherapy, may hold the key to beating this typically fatal form of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society estimates, pancreatic cancer is expected to kill an estimated 38,500 Americans this year.
But hope may be on the horizon. An increasing body of research suggests that bacterial infections, particularly in the stomach and gums, play a significant role in the development of pancreatic cancer and may even act as a trigger for the disease.
Cancer researchers have been searching for a link between known risk factors for pancreatic cancer: smoking, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, alcoholism and pancreatitis — without success until now. As reported in Live Science, that link may be the presence of two specific bacteria:
Helicobacter pylori which has been linked to stomach cancer and peptic ulcers, and
Porphyrmomonas gingivalis which has been linked to poor dental hygiene and gum disease.
Scientists now believe that these bacteria affect the body’s immune system, promoting widespread infection and preventing the immune system from defending the body. The primary risk factors of pancreatic cancer are already known to weaken immune system response. The combination of an already weakened immune system and a virulent bacterial attack may simply overwhelm the body’s ability to fight back, promoting the growth of cancer cells in the pancreas.
Immunotherapy to boost the immune system may provide the best hope of remission and possible recovery from pancreatic cancer and other cancers linked to immune system response.
A British company has developed a way to harness the body’s T cells to fight cancer. An integral part of our body’s immune system, T cells are like a standing army waiting for battle orders. When pathogens invade, the body sends these specialized white blood cells to search for and destroy invading cells. However, T cells haven’t been as good at targeting cancer cells as they are at targeting other pathogens. Immunocore may have solved that problem.
Immunocore has engineered T cell receptor proteins to recognize and bind to specific cancer-causing peptides in cancer cells, killing the diseased cells without harming healthy cells. (Click to view How It Works in The Independent.)
“Immunotherapy is radically different,” Bent Jakobsen, Immunocore’s chief science officer told The Independent. “It doesn’t do away with the other cancer treatments by any means, but it adds something to the arsenal that has one unique feature — it may have the potency to actually cure cancer.”
Unlike chemotherapy and radiation treatments which have a destructive impact on the body, immunotherapy works with the body, harnessing the immune system to protect against and kill cancer cells. Led by recent cutting-edge advancements in gene- and cell-driven cancer therapies, immunotherapy represents a sea change in the traditional approach to cancer treatment that, interestingly, brings it into alignment with Issels’ alternative cancer therapies.
Issels Integrative Oncology has been a worldwide leader in integrative immunotherapy and science-based alternative cancer treatments for more than 60 years. Visit our website to hear what Issels’ patients have to say about our enviable history of complete long-term cancer remissions, including advanced-stage and standard therapy-resistant cancers.
The traditional cancer treatment community has been excited by news that an experimental cancer vaccine has successfully used cells from the patients’ own immune systems to slow the production of cancer cells in six of seven patients with advanced melanoma. In explaining the procedure, Medical Daily suggested that personalized immunotherapy “may represent the future of cancer treatment.”
We suggest the future is now! While the experimental cancer vaccine developed by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may seem like it is breaking new ground to practitioners of traditional Western medicine, Issels Integrated Oncology has been incorporating immune-boosting cancer vaccines with similar properties into our personalized integrative immunotherapy treatments for more than 60 years.
Washington University’s vaccine used dendritic immune system cells in the patients’ skin to boost their immune response. As we note on our website, dendritic cells are key regulators of the immune responses. Vital in the identification of damaging pathogens that invade the body, including malignant cancer cells, dendritic cells trigger antigens in the immune system to multiply and attack disease; in this way boosting immune response to cancer cells.
Washington University researchers estimate that it could be more than a decade before they are able to develop a marketable vaccine; but Issels already offers two dendritic cell-driven cancer vaccines:
Extracorporeal Photopheresis with the Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccine
Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccine
Visit our website for more detailed information about the cancer vaccines we offer and what they do. A powerful cancer-fighting tool, our cancer vaccines work with the body, strengthening and harnessing the patient’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells. Our personalized immunotherapy cancer treatment program has proven successful in achieving long-term cancer remissions for many of our patients. Why wait; contact us today to learn more about Issels alternative cancer treatments.
An experimental cancer vaccine that harnesses the patient’s immune system is being hailed as the future of cancer treatment. In recently published studies conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, six of seven cancer patients with advanced Stage IV melanoma responded positively to a cancer vaccine that used cells from each patient’s own immune system to attack and slow the reproduction of cancer cells. In three patients, the vaccine also slowed tumor development.
Lead researcher Dr. Gerald Linette called the experimental cancer treatment approach “personalized immunotherapy.” Telling U.S. News, “This is going to end up being the way we cure cancer,” Dr. Michele Green, a dermatologist at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, predicted that personalized immunotherapy and individualized cancer vaccines will become standard treatment protocols for cancers of all types in the future.
While the remarkable success of this experimental cancer vaccine may seem new and exciting to practitioners of traditional Western medicine, Issels Integrative Oncology cancer treatment centers have been using personalized cancer vaccines to successfully treat various types of cancer for decades. Typically used in conjunction with our personalized immunobiologic core cancer treatment, Issels’ vaccine program is designed to strengthen the individual patient’s immune system and use it to target the tumor microenvironment.
Research findings have confirmed the vital importance of tumor microenvironments in directing the regression or progression of cancer. As Issels’ 60 years of clinical experience with integrative immunotherapy has shown, the ability to manipulate tumor microenvironments has a profound influence on the outcome of cancer treatments.
Next time: Are new cancer vaccines really breaking new ground?