Immunotherapy and Gastric Cancers – What to Know

Immunotherapy and Gastric Cancers
Immunotherapy and Gastric Cancers

Immunotherapy and other targeted methods have shown promise in effectively fighting gastric and gastroesophageal junction (GSJ) cancers. At a recent summit meeting, Dr. Andrew Ko, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, discussed cancer treatment for gastric and GSJ cancers as well as current challenges.

Checkpoint Inhibitors and Gastric Cancers

In terms of recent developments, Ko pointed to last year’s FDA approval of pembrolizumab as a turning point in the treatment of advanced cancers. Pembrolizumab (trade name Keytruda) is a checkpoint inhibitor used on cancers with positive expression of PD-L1, a protein that enables cancer cells to avoid attack by the immune system.

Ko also mentioned nivolumab (trade name Opdivo), another checkpoint inhibitor. Nivolumab is used for melanoma and lung cancers, but clinical trials have shown that it has potential as a secondary treatment following chemo-radiation and surgery for patients with certain GEJ cancers.

Unfortunately, cases of upper gastrointestinal cancers continue to rise in Western countries. Ko explained that, despite improvements in immunotherapy cancer treatment, many patients are still non-responders, creating continued urgency in finding additional methods.

The Future of Gastric Cancer Treatment

According to Ko, immunotherapy still holds the greatest interest for cancer researchers.

– Studies are exploring combinations of drugs, such as nivolumab plus ipilimumab (trade name Yervoy).

– Other studies are focused on moving targeted agents from secondary to first-line treatments.

Immunotherapy for Advanced and Therapy-Resistant Cancers

Immunotherapy programs at Issels® are individually developed to help your body’s own immune system attack and destroy cancer cells. Contact us to learn why our personalized, non-toxic treatments have helped patients of all ages and types of cancer.

New Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Improves Life Expectancy

There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment
There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment

No two cases of cancer are the same, so scientists are finding that cookie-cutter cancer treatment is not always the best solution. According to a recently published study, a personalized vaccine has shown promise for boosting ovarian cancer survival rates.

Ovarian Cancer: The “Silent Killer”

An international team of researchers conducted the study of ovarian cancer, often referred to as a “silent killer” because it’s usually in an advanced stage by the time of diagnosis. Chemotherapy plus surgery is the conventional course of treatment, but team member Dr. Lana Kandalaft notes that 85 percent of patients experience recurrence.

Matching Cancer Treatment to Patient

Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that uses a patient’s own immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. In this case, researchers created a vaccine by harvesting a patient’s immune cells, then exposed them to cells from the tumor so they could be identified.

All patients in the study were treated with a combination of immunotherapy drugs, while a certain number also received the vaccine. After one year, the vaccinated group had a survival rate of 100 percent compared to 60 percent of the control group.

Results continued to be encouraging after two years. The vaccinated group showed a survival rate of 78 percent, while the rate dropped to 44 percent with patients receiving drugs alone.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Personalized Cancer Treatment

Our founder, Dr. Josef Issels, performed groundbreaking work developing immunotherapy as an integrative and holistic form of cancer treatment. Visit our website for more information about how we are continuing his legacy of helping patients with advanced and therapy-resistant cancers achieve long-term remission.

Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways
Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Effective cancer treatment sometimes involves dealing with side effects and secondary symptoms. Here are some things you need to know about the possible effects of cancer and its treatment on cognitive abilities.

What Is Cognition?

Simply put, cognition is “the mental process of learning and understanding.” Cognitive thinking is what allows you to focus, process new information, solve problems, perceive spatial relationships and communicate via speaking and writing.

Cognitive Problems Related to Cancer

Problems involving learning and memory are common signs of cognitive impairment due to cancer. Specific problems can include:

– Inability to complete tasks

– Failure to recognize familiar objects

– Loss of focus and concentration

– Difficulty with money management, such as paying bills

– Lack of motivation

– Disorganized behavior and/or thinking

Other Factors Contributing to Cognitive Problems

States of mental and physical well-being are deeply intertwined. Cancer patients and survivors may find that the following issues also impact cognitive abilities:

– Age

– Overall weakness or frailty

– Drug and alcohol use

Chemotherapy and other cancer treatment

– Other diseases or illnesses

– Being postmenopausal

Restoring Cognitive Abilities

Researchers are studying the use of certain drugs in treating cognitive problems, but a pharmaceutical solution is still in the future. Many patients have found these natural methods to be helpful:

– Movement therapy, such as tai chi or yoga, that emphasizes the mind-body connection

– Learning new ways to absorb information

– Using calendars, tech devices or other tools to stay organized

– Activities such as gardening or caring for pets that establish focus

Integrative Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our personalized cancer treatment methods avoid the common side effects that can affect your overall wellness. Contact us for more information.

Fast Diagnostic Testing May Improve Cancer Outcome for Many Patients

Fast Diagnostic Testing May Improve Cancer Outcome for Many Patients
Fast Diagnostic Testing May Improve Cancer Outcome for Many Patients

Early detection greatly improves the chances of immunotherapy for cancer and other treatments to have a beneficial effect. A recent literature review by a team of experts emphasizes the importance of patients receiving fast diagnostic testing as soon as possible after a positive screening.

Making the Case for Fast Diagnostic Testing

An interdisciplinary team of cancer experts, led by a group from the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a review of studies involving patients with breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer. All studies were published between January 1998 and December 2017 and were drawn from average-risk populations except in the case of lung cancer.

Patient outcome data in the studies provided clear support for the policy of receiving quick diagnostic testing, such as a CT scan, after a positive screening result. While the team suggested a target time frame for each type of cancer ranging from 60 to 90 days, they emphasized that there is no specific window of safety.

Why Time Is of the Essence

Dr. Chyke Doubeni, lead author of the review, stated the following benefits of prompt diagnostic testing:

– Reduced mortality risk

– Less worry and uncertainty for the patient

– Reduced likelihood of delays, such as changes in insurance coverage

Researchers will now focus on identifying the data that will allow more precise definitions of time frames for testing.

Why Issels® Is a Leader in Immunotherapy for Cancer

Have you received a diagnosis of advanced cancer? Our personally developed immunotherapy for cancer treatment programs have helped patients with stage IV and therapy-resistant cancers achieve long-term remission.

Contact us for more information.

Surgery for Breast Cancer May Awaken Sleeping Cancer Cells

Surgery for Breast Cancer May Awaken Sleeping Cancer Cells
Surgery for Breast Cancer May Awaken Sleeping Cancer Cells

One of the challenges in developing immunotherapy for cancer treatments is that benefits of a method are sometimes offset by drawbacks. In a recent example, scientists have found that breast cancer surgery may trigger micrometastases that are too small to be found on imaging.

Seeking Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Approximately 35 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer already have thousands of these micrometastases lying dormant in their system. Only half of them develop into full-blown metastatic cancer, and scientists believe the half that remain dormant are controlled by immune system activity.

A research team at the Whitehead Institute wanted to explore the problem, but they didn’t want to withhold surgery from breast cancer patients to form a control group. Testing was conducted on mice that had been injected with breast cancer cells and undergone simulated “surgery.”

“Surgery-Driven Interruption of Dormancy”

Of the mice that had “surgery,” 60 percent had continued growth of cancer cells, while only 10 percent of the mice that didn’t receive surgery had the same result. The team concluded that “surgical wounding” superseded attacks by the immune system, allowing the tiny malignancies to grow.

The test also uncovered a possible solution. When the mice were given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) pre- and post-“surgery,” it appeared to counteract the negative effects of the wounds. This opens the door to the possibility of over-the-counter products such as aspirin and ibuprofen being used as treatments.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: Personalized, Non-Toxic Treatments

At Issels®, our individually developed cancer programs focus on destroying tumors while treating internal factors that contribute to cancer growth. Contact us to learn more.

New Research: Blood Flow Determines Secondary Tumor Locations

New Research: Blood Flow Determines Secondary Tumor Locations
New Research: Blood Flow Determines Secondary Tumor Locations

One of the goals of immunotherapy for cancer is control of metastasis, which is a leading cause of cancer deaths. Results of a recent study concerning metastasis and blood flow could shed some needed light on ways to disrupt the process.

Investigating the “Metastatic Cascade”

In metastasis, tumor cells migrate from the original site via the lymph system or bloodstream to establish secondary tumors. The process involves a series of six steps known as the metastatic cascade.

A team from Frances’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research conducted tests focused on the fourth step, when tumor cells build up in tiny capillaries and pass through the walls into surrounding tissue. During the first phase, they tracked tumor cells in zebrafish embryos.

The Relationship Between Blood Flow and Metastasis

The scientists discovered there was a specific velocity range of blood flow connected with capillaries where the tumor cells stopped traveling. Blood flow was also found to be an essential factor in allowing the capillary lining, or endothelium, to “remodel” around the tumor cells.

Researchers came to the same conclusions in the next phase, involving mice with brain metastases. For the final step, the team observed brain metastases in 100 human patients.

When the scientists compared the brain metastases map to one showing the blood flow of a healthy human, it confirmed the results of the zebrafish tests. Secondary tumors tended to grow in areas with specific blood flow velocity.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: Treating Tumors and Their Environment

At Issels®, we have achieved a great deal of success in helping patients with metastatic and therapy-resistant cancers. Contact us to learn more.