Category Archives: Cancer Vaccine

Liver Cancer Rates Rise and Becomes the Sixth Deadliest Cancer

Liver Cancer Rates Are Rising
Liver Cancer Rates Are Rising

Thanks in part to the improved effectiveness of immunotherapy cancer treatment, overall death rates due to this disease have been dropping over the past few decades. Unfortunately, liver cancer death rates have been going in the opposite direction.

Liver Cancer Death Rates Climb

According to a July 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), death rates for all forms of cancer combined have declined since 1990. But in the period from 2000-2016, liver cancer death rates for ages 25 and up rose a dramatic 43 percent.

The increase breaks down to 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016 compared to 7.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2000. As a result, liver cancer moved from the ninth-leading cause of cancer deaths up to the sixth spot.

Behind the Numbers

Patients with other types of cancer, such as breast, lung and colon, have benefited from better diagnostic and treatment procedures. In addition, lower rates of people are developing these forms of cancer than in the past.

The same can’t be said for liver cancer. Rates of developing this disease have remained fairly steady, while diagnostic and treatment methods are not as effective as those for other cancers.

Within overall liver cancer death rates, the numbers were highest for adults aged 75 and up. Dr. Jeffery Drebin, liver cancer surgeon at NYC’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, explains that it’s primarily due to long-term effects of liver inflammation.

Personalized Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our immunotherapy cancer treatment programs are individually created to address the needs of patients with liver cancer and other therapy-resistant tumors. Contact us for more information.

Test on New Drug that Contains Cancer Cell Metastasis

Tests on New Drugs That May Provide Better Treatment
Tests on a New Drug That May Contain the Spread of Cancer

At Issels®, our immunotherapy for cancer treatments are often used with patients whose tumors have spread to other parts of the body. Over the last few years, an international research team has made significant progress in developing a drug that limits the movement of cancer cells.

Stopping the Spread of Cancer Cells

Metastasis is the term for the ability of cancer cells to move throughout the body and establish tumors in locations away from the primary site. Once a tumor metastasizes, it presents a greater challenge for successful treatment.

While cancer research primarily focuses on treating tumors directly, a multinational team of scientists decided to investigate possible methods of interfering with cancer cells’ motility. If migration could be contained, it would help prevent tumors from entering later, hard-to-treat stages.

KBU2046: Putting the Brakes on Metastasis

In 2011, the team identified a drug called KBU2046 that binds to heat-shock proteins found in all cells, preventing cell movement. Original testing was done on human cell models of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer in vitro.

The team’s most recent study, published in June, extended testing to mouse models. Scientists were able to confirm that KBU2046 targeted cancer cells only, sparing healthy tissue, and further refinements eliminated any side effects.

The researchers believe that the positive results justify their unorthodox approach. Next step on their agenda is obtaining funds to conduct further studies in preparation for clinical trials.

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Identification of Key Biological Pathway Primes Immune System to Fight Cancer

It's Time to Stop Cancer
It’s Time to Stop Cancer

While immunotherapy cancer treatment has provided options for many patients, doctors are challenged by determining which patients will be most receptive. The recent discovery of a key biological pathway may prove to be a useful solution.

Stimulating the Power of the Immune System

Cancer cells often avoid the normal immune response by triggering the brake mechanism that keeps T cells from attacking healthy tissue. Immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors override the brakes, but so far this treatment has been successful with a minority of patients.

In 2014, a research team at UC San Francisco discovered an element of the immune system called stimulatory dendritic cells (SDC), which help direct T cells to a target. The scientists also uncovered a correlation between low levels of SDCs and poor response to checkpoint inhibitors.

Creating a Receptive Environment for Immunotherapy

The team recently set out to learn why SDC levels vary among tumors. In this study, they found that natural killer (NK) cells in the immune system express a signaling protein known as FLT3LG. Presence of FLT3LG has a strong relationship to presence of SDCs.

While NK cells have long been recognized as a direct threat to cancer cells, the UCSF study demonstrates that they can also communicate with other immune cells. Scientists are hopeful that developing a way to increase the number of NK cells in a tumor will help more patients benefit from immunotherapy.

Issels®: The Leader in Advanced Cancer Treatment

Issels® has been ahead of the curve with cancer treatment methods such as dendritic cell vaccines and activated NK cells. Contact us for more information.

Modified Polio Virus to be Tested In Brain Cancer Research Efforts

Issels the Premier Provider of Immuno Oncology
Issels the Premier Provider of Immuno Oncology

When it comes to your health, a virus is generally something to be avoided. In a surprising discovery, a virus that normally causes paralysis may hold promise as an immunotherapy for cancer treatment.

Can a Virus Actually Fight a Tumor?

Glioblastoma is the most common and most deadly form of brain cancer affecting adults. It gained a measure of public awareness after former Sen. Edward Kennedy and Beau Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, succumbed to the disease. One year ago Sen. John McCain, already a cancer survivor, was diagnosed with glioblastoma.

Poliovirus, which causes the paralyzing disease that shares its name, infects cells in the nervous system. Based on this feature, a team of Duke University scientists decided to test a genetically modified version on patients with treatment-resistant glioblastoma.

Poliovirus and the Immune System: A Two-Pronged Attack

The researchers neutralized the virus by replacing the specific gene that causes polio with one from rhinovirus, which generally causes head colds. Once infused directly into the tumors, the newly formed virus was able to infect and kill cancer cells as well as stimulate the immune system to attack the cells.

According to team member Dr. Darell Bigner, the group’s 21 percent survival rate after three years is more than five times that of a previously treated comparison group. The researchers are planning to conduct studies combining the modified poliovirus with other immunotherapy for cancer drugs in hopes of improving the results.

Treatment for Advanced and Therapy-Resistant Cancers

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Lymph Node Metastasis Uses Blood Vessel Pathways to Spread Cancer

Metastasis Uses Blood Vessel Pathways
Metastasis Uses Blood Vessel Pathways

Lymph node metastasis can have major implications for immuno oncology treatment. In a recent study, scientists examined the progression of metastatic tumor cells to learn more about how they are disseminated throughout the body.

Is Treatment of Lymph Node Metastases a Priority?

When cancer metastasizes in the lymph nodes, it’s generally a sign of an exceptionally aggressive tumor and a poor prognosis. Scientists differ on the treatment of lymph node metastases, with some experts believing it’s “clinically inconsequential” while others think they should be treated promptly to prevent distant metastases.

Results of clinical testing further complicate the issue. In one trial, removal of anything beyond the first lymph node had no benefit for patients who had received radiation and systemic therapies, while in another, lymph node treatment was found to help a subgroup of patients with breast cancer.

Tracing the Journey of Metastatic Cancer Cells

A team of researchers implanted a group of mice with cancer cells that expressed a photoconvertible protein known as Dendra2. This feature allowed scientists to photoactivate selected metastatic cells in the lymph nodes and follow their path.

Originally, metastatic cells were thought to travel by either blood vessels or the lymphatic system. In studying the affected mice, scientists determined that the metastatic cells followed a hybrid route by invading blood vessels within a lymph node, using it as a means of exit by which the cells could travel to the lungs and other organs.

Issels®: Leading the Way in Immuno Oncology for Advanced Cancers

Our comprehensive immuno oncology treatments have helped a number of patients with metastatic and recurring cancer. Contact us for more information.

Tips for Coping with a New Cancer Diagnosis

Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!
Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!

When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your mental and emotional adjustment can make a difference during your course of immuno oncology treatment. Unfortunately, most people have no frame of reference for coping with such news.

The American Cancer Society offers helpful tips for coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and continuing to live life to the fullest.

Follow Your Own Path

Your situation is unique. Others may offer ideas of what has worked for them, but don’t feel obligated to follow them to the letter. View these tips as suggestions and try out different methods to find your own best solution.

Learn About Your Cancer

Knowledge is power. The unknown is often more frightening than the reality, so take time to educate yourself about your type of cancer and the various treatment options that are available.

Stay Active

The link between exercise and mood is well-documented. Physical activity stimulates production of endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Consult with your doctor to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Let Your Feelings Out

Many people believe that fear, anger and other negative emotions must remain hidden, but that can make your situation even harder to bear. Talk to friends and family, join a support group or try an artistic outlet such as writing or painting.

Be Kind to Yourself

Make a point each day of doing something that makes you happy, whether it’s meeting a friend for lunch or simply meditating for 15 minutes.

Issels®: Immuno Oncology Personally Created for You

Our non-toxic immunotherapy programs are individually designed to meet your specific needs. Contact us to learn more.