Category Archives: Cancer Research

Protein Biomarker Found for Liver Cancer That May Allow for Early Treatment

Protein Biomarker Found for Liver Cancer That May Allow for Early Treatment
Protein Biomarker Found for Liver Cancer That May Allow for Early Treatment

While some cancer rates have dropped, cases of liver cancer have actually tripled since the 1980s, with only 20 percent of patients surviving more than five years after diagnosis. Scientists are hoping to fight this trend with the discovery of a new protein biomarker that can lead to earlier cancer immunotherapy.

Dire Prognosis for Liver Cancer

The grim mortality rate for liver cancer is largely due to the fact that it’s usually diagnosed in late stages, by which point the liver has already sustained too much damage. A study recently published in the journal Nature describes findings that may enable earlier diagnosis.

Using Tumor Suppressors for More Accurate Diagnosis

Anti-cancer proteins known as tumor suppressors have the ability to check the rapid cell growth. Problems arise when the tumor suppressors in cancer cells fail to do their job.

A team at the University of Basel in Switzerland went in search of more effective tumor suppressors by testing a mouse model of liver cancer. The researchers examined more than 4,000 individual proteins in the diseased tissue and compared them to those in healthy tissue.

One protein called histidine phosphatase (LHPP) was found in healthy tissue but not in the tumor cells. Similar results were found when the team focused on LHPP in humans with liver cancer. Scientists are hopeful that LHPP can serve as a biomarker, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer Immunotherapy for Late-Stage and Therapy-Resistant Tumors

Issels® has a successful track record of helping patients with late-stage and therapy-resistant cancers achieve long-term remission. Visit our website to read and hear these stories from patients in their own words.

Highlighting a DNA-Based Lymphoma Treatment

Highlighting a DNA-Based Lymphoma Treatment
Highlighting a DNA-Based Lymphoma Treatment

One of the benefits of cancer immunotherapy is that it can offer options for patients when other treatments have failed. Doctors are having success with a new DNA-based treatment for certain forms of lymphoma.

CAR T-cell Therapy and Lymphoma

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (or CAR T-cell therapy) may sound complicated, but the basic principle is simple. CAR T-cell therapy, like most types of cancer immunotherapy, works by boosting the ability of a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer.

With this procedure, T-cells are harvested from a patient and genetically engineered to produce surface receptors. The T-cells are then reintroduced into the patient’s system, where the receptors target a specific protein expressed by the lymphoma cells.

Dimas Padilla, a 44-year-old man from Orlando whose lymphoma had returned for a third time, was one of the 101 patients involved in a test of CAR T-cell therapy. Approximately half of the group experienced complete remission. Padilla himself has been tumor-free for 18 months.

Yescarta Wins FDA Approval

In October 2017, the FDA approved this treatment under the trade name Yescarta for use with certain types of B-cell lymphoma. This is only the second gene therapy to pass FDA approval, but at this point usage is restricted to patients who have unsuccessfully undergone at least two other forms of treatment.

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4 in 10 Cancers are Preventable with Lifestyle Alteration

4 in 10 Cancers are Preventable with Lifestyle Alteration
4 in 10 Cancers are Preventable with Lifestyle Alteration

Early detection greatly improves the success rate of cancer immunotherapy, but wouldn’t it be better if cancer never developed in the first place? A recent report out of the United Kingdom shows that nearly 40 percent of cancer diagnoses in that nation could be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes.

Tobacco: #1 Preventable Cause of Cancer

In March 2018, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) published a study concerning preventable causes of cancer. Based on the data, they determined that nearly four out of 10 cancer cases could be prevented. That translates to more than 2,500 new cancer diagnoses per week in the UK.

Exposure to tobacco smoke, which accounts for 15 percent of cancer cases in the UK, continued to lead the list of preventable causes. The next two factors were obesity and UV radiation exposure from the sun or tanning beds.

Changing Public Beliefs and Behaviors

CRUK’s research team applauded public anti-smoking measures such as advertising restrictions and taxes on tobacco products. They also urged similar actions to help fight the shifting trend toward overeating and obesity.

While obesity currently accounts for just over six percent of cancer cases, making it a distant second to tobacco smoke, the team cautioned that excess weight has the potential to become “the new smoking.” Prof. Linda Bauld of KRUK cited the increasing acceptability of obesity as the norm.

Integrative Cancer Immunotherapy Programs at Issels®

In addition to treating cancer and its causes, our immunobiologic core treatment includes education in nutrition and other elements of a healthy lifestyle. Visit our website to learn more about our personally developed cancer immunotherapy treatments.

Chemicals that Attract Immune Cells May Speed Immunotherapy Response

Chemicals that Attract Immune Cells May Speed Immunotherapy Response
Chemicals that Attract Immune Cells May Speed Immunotherapy Response

It’s said that opposites attract, and scientists are hoping to use that principle to develop more effective immuno oncology treatments. Certain chemicals that are present in tumors might be used to attract cancer-fighting immune cells.

Triggering an Immune Response to Cancer Cells

In a study recently published in Cell, researchers at the Francis Krick Institute found that immune cells known as Natural Killer (NK) cells build up in tumors. These NK cells emit certain chemicals that attract special dendritic cells (cDC1), which are white blood cells that generate an immune response against tumors.

While analyzing data from more than 2,500 patients with skin, breast, lung and neck cancers, the team discovered a correlation between NK cell and cDC1 genes and cancer survival. Similar results occurred with an independent group of breast cancer patients.

Solving a Potential Roadblock

The study also revealed that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which is produced by some cancer cells, can suppress NK cell activity, thereby limiting the cDC1 response. One solution may be to use aspirin to block PGE2 and its negative effects.

Professor Karen Vousden of Cancer Research UK acknowledged the benefits of the study in revealing more information about the interaction between cancer and the immune system. Vousden also pointed out the importance of such work for improved immuno oncology treatments.

Personally Developed Immuno Oncology Programs at Issels®

At Issels®, we have decades of experience successfully treating patients with advanced and therapy-resistant forms of cancer. Issels® has been ahead of the curve in using programs featuring dendritic and NK cells.

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New Three-Part Molecule May Decrease Growth of Certain Types of Cancer Tumors

Three-Part Molecule May Decrease Growth of Certain Types of Cancer Tumors
Three-Part Molecule May Decrease Growth of Certain Types of Cancer Tumors

If one is good and two is better, is three the answer? Scientists are hoping that a new three-part molecule could be an answer regarding effective immuno oncology for breast cancer patients.

Stemming the Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

Approximately 20 to 30 percent of breast cancer cases involve over-expression of HER2, which is a growth factor that leads to aggressive multiplication of cancer cells. This acceleration often makes these types of cancer resistant to therapy, resulting in poor prognoses.

Dr. Hongyan Liu, a bioengineer at the Georgia Cancer Center, led a team that developed a chimera, or three-part molecule, to suppress the growth factors. The chimera targets HER2, HER3 and EGFR because one member of the HER “family” can compensate when another one is blocked.

Exploring the Abilities of the Three-Part Molecule

The new molecule is non-toxic, easy to manufacture and relatively cost-effective, making scientists optimistic about its value for immuno oncology. Dr. Liu and her team are currently conducting studies to determine if the chimera can treat cancer that is resistant to Herceptin, a drug that inhibits HER2.

Breast cancer is not the only form that grows due to over-expression of HER receptors. Dr. Liu is hopeful that the chimera will have future applications for lung, head and neck cancers as well.

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New Tao Brush Technique May Find More Female Pelvic Cancers Early

New Tao Brush Technique May Find More Female Pelvic Cancers Early
New Tao Brush Technique May Find More Female Pelvic Cancers Early

Ovarian and uterine cancers are often detected too late for effective treatment. Immuno oncology got a major boost recently with the development of an advanced Pap test that can provide early diagnosis.

Improving Early Detection of Female Pelvic Cancers

Researchers from McGill University and Johns Hopkins University teamed up to work on PapSEEK. This safe and minimally invasive test uses Pap samples from the uterus, cervix and blood to identify common genetic mutations in cancer DNA.

While the standard Pap test collects samples from the cervix, McGill professor Lucy Hopkins suggested that the team collect samples from the uterus as well to increase chances of detecting other types of cancer. They used a method called the Tao brush technique to improve the sensitivity of the test.

Going Beyond Traditional Testing

PapSEEK was tested on samples from more than 1,300 women from different hospital sites in different countries. Just over 600 of the samples were from patients with endometrial or ovarian cancer, while the others were healthy controls.

The researchers were able to detect 81 percent of endometrial cancers and 33 percent of ovarian cancers, with higher rates when the Tao brush technique was implemented. In addition, there were no false-positive results.

According to Gilbert, the Pap smear has reduced the number of cervical cancer deaths, but endometrial and ovarian cancers were going undetected. Gilbert believes that PapSEEK will be a valuable breakthrough, just as the original Pap test was.

Immuno Oncology for Late-Stage Cancers

Issels® has a proud history of helping patients achieve remission after a diagnosis of late-stage cancer. Visit our website to learn more.