Category Archives: Immuno-Oncology

New Research Using a Molecule to Target Proteins that Grow Cancer Tumors

New Research Using a Molecule to Target Proteins that Grow Cancer Tumors
New Research Using a Molecule to Target Proteins that Grow Cancer Tumors

One of the benefits of immunotherapy for cancer is that it doesn’t carry the same debilitating side effects as more traditional treatments. Researchers in Australia made a significant breakthrough in the field with its work on “designer molecules” that inhibit growth of cancer cells.

Stopping Cancer at “Ground Zero”

The study, conducted by a multi-disciplinary team from the University of Adelaide, involved a protein called proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). PCNA’s donut-like shape lets DNA slide through its center, where it is then replicated.

As explained by project leader Dr. John Bruning, while PCNA is required for DNA replication, it’s overexpressed in 90 percent of all cancers. The team set out to find a way to target PCNA, thereby preventing cancer cells from multiplying.

Creating a Barrier to Cancer Cell Proliferation

Bruning’s team successfully created a drug-like molecule using a protein that naturally interacts with PCNA. They were also able to change the chemistry to keep it from degrading as it does in its natural form.

PCNA rarely mutates, making it less likely to develop resistance against the “designer molecule,” which has demonstrated greater effectiveness than previous forms of PCNA inhibitors with less chance of side effects.

According to Bruning, the use of a natural protein in the creation of the molecule allows for more precise targeting of PCNA. Bruning is hopeful that his team’s work will usher in the development of a whole new class of drugs.

Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®: Using the Body’s Own Resources

Our immunotherapy for cancer programs boost the ability of the body’s immune system to fight tumors. Visit our website to learn more.

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.

Personalized Immunotherapy: The Future for Cancer Treatment One Story

Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways
Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways

At Issels®, we recognize that successful cancer treatment is designed for a patient’s individual needs. This immunotherapy approach recently saved the life of one woman whose recurring breast cancer was spreading to other parts of her body.

“Two to Three Months to Live”

In 2003, Judy Perkins of Port St. Lucie, Florida underwent a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Just over two years ago the cancer returned, resulting in tennis-ball-sized tumors throughout her torso, including the lymph nodes.

This time around, Perkins was treated by Dr. Steven Rosenberg and his team at the National Cancer Institute. Rosenberg’s career has been devoted to the field of immuno-oncology, which involves finding ways to help the body’s own immune system attack and destroy cancer cells.

Weaponizing the Immune System

Rosenberg and his team began by obtaining samples of the tumors to sequence DNA and analyze tumor-fighting immune cells called lymphocytes. The scientists were then able to identify the specific gene mutations that allowed cancer cells to multiply and spread.

After determining which lymphocytes were most effective against the mutations, the team grew those cells in the lab and re-introduced them to Perkins’ system. In addition to doses of interleukin 2 and an immunotherapy drug approved by the FDA in 2017, Perkins received one last round of chemotherapy.

All tumors disappeared, and Perkins remains cancer-free today. Rosenberg is optimistic that this success will propel immunotherapy research to more breakthroughs.

Personalized, Integrative Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Many patients with advanced and therapy-resistant cancers have achieved long-term remission through our cancer treatment programs. Contact us to learn more.

Autoimmune Disease May Hold a Key for More Effective Immunotherapy Treatments

Research is Under Way to Cross Out Cancer
Research is Under Way to Cross Out Cancer

Thanks to their ability to avoid detection by the immune system, cancer cells are able to rapidly reproduce and spread. In a major breakthrough, scientists have discovered that a gene associated with hair loss could provide valuable clues to improve immunotherapy for cancer.

Autoimmune Disease: The Other Side of the Coin

Ironically, a research team at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) turned to the autoimmune disease alopecia areata as the topic of their recent study, published last June in Cell Systems. While cancer is marked by failure of the immune system, alopecia represents the opposite situation, an immune system in overdrive.

Alopecia results in immune cells attacking and destroying healthy hair cells. During previous research, the CUIMC team isolated a gene called IKZF1 that causes overproduction of T cells in the immune system.

“Flipping the Switch” on the Immune System

In the latest study, the scientists demonstrated that IKZF1 is turned off in many cancer cells. The team then set out to test their theory that activating IKZF1 would trigger T cells to begin attacking tumors.

The study broke down into two parts:

– When a mouse model of melanoma was engineered to express IKZF1, the corresponding tumors revealed increased levels of immune cells.

– Analysis of data from a previous study of melanoma patients showed higher recurrence in those with disabled IKZF1.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: A Personalized Treatment

Immunotherapy for cancer programs at Issels® are focused on boosting your body’s own immune system, so they’re not accompanied by the side effects that frequently accompany conventional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Visit our website for more information.

Lung Cancer Numbers Rise in Female Non-Smoking Populations

Cancer Rising in Female Non-Smokers
Cancer is Rising in Female Non-Smokers

As the most common form of the disease worldwide, lung cancer is a primary target of immunotherapy for cancer research and testing. Unfortunately, scientists are alarmed at the rising incidence of lung cancer in women and non-smokers.

Non-Smokers Are Not Immune to Lung Cancer

The link between tobacco and lung cancer is well-known, leaving many people to mistakenly believe that only smokers will develop the disease. The facts are that approximately 15 percent of lung cancer cases are non-tobacco-related.

This anomaly is especially pronounced among women. Studies show that 20 percent of women who are diagnosed with lung cancer are lifelong non-smokers, compared to only 10 percent of men. Data from the U.K. reveals that, among patients undergoing lung cancer surgery over a six-year period, women made up 67 percent of the group that had never smoked.

Lung Cancer and the Gender Gap

In another dubious distinction, lung cancer rates in women have risen over the last 20 years, even as they’ve fallen in men. Researchers attribute this development to two possible causes:

– There is some evidence that women’s DNA is more vulnerable to damage caused by carcinogens contained in tobacco.

– At one time, smoking among women was relatively rare. Gains in gender equality appear to have resulted in more women taking up the habit.

Scientists urge anyone who experiences symptoms such as unexplained coughing, chest pains and shortness of breath to see their doctor, even if they’ve never smoked.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: When Other Treatments Have Failed

Our personalized immunotherapy for cancer programs have helped patients with both primary lung cancer and lung metastases. 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.

Integrative Immunotherapy Treatments for Late-Stage Cancer

Numerous patients with advanced and therapy-resistant tumors have achieved long-term remission with our personally developed immunotherapy for cancer programs. Visit our website to hear and read their first-person testimonials.