Category Archives: Immuno-Oncology

Treatment Uses Patient’s Own Immune Cells to Fight Cancer

Treatment Uses Patient's Own Immune Cells to Fight Cancer
Treatment Uses Patient’s Own Immune Cells to Fight Cancer

Scientists are hopeful that a new gene therapy cancer treatment will lead to development of other drugs that utilize the power of a patient’s own immune system. In the meantime, policy makers face the challenges of safety, cost and access.

“Training” the Immune System to Fight Cancer

The therapy in question, called Kymriah, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2017. Novartis developed Kymriah as a cancer treatment for children and young adults with a type of leukemia known as ALL.

Kymriah is a form of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell treatment. A patient’s T cells are genetically reengineered and infused back into the patient’s system to attack and kill cancer cells.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

During clinical trials conducted by Novartis, 63 patients received a one-time infusion of CAR T cells. After three months, 52 of the patients were in remission.

The downside is that 76 percent of the patients experienced a variety of side effects. In order to determine the overall risk vs. reward factor, the FDA has required Novartis to perform a post-marketing study of Kymriah’s safety and effectiveness.

An article published in the October issue of Health Affairs noted that high demand and high cost of CAR T cell therapies could lead to greater inequalities in health outcomes. The authors urged ethics and policy-making to catch up to the science of cancer treatment.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Cancer Immunotherapy

Issels® has long been ahead of the field in successful use of cancer treatment that aids the immune system in targeting tumor cells. Contact us for more information.

Some Cancers Cloak Themselves from the Immune System’s Discovery

Some Cancers Cloak Themselves from the Immune System's Discovery
Some Cancers Cloak Themselves from the Immune System’s Discovery

Immunotherapy cancer treatment is designed to aid the body’s immune system in recognizing and attacking tumor cells. Scientists are finally uncovering clues as to how cancer cells are able to evade detection by the body’s natural defenses.

How Cancer Blocks the Immune System

The first steps were taken in 2009 by a team headed up by Dr. Irving Weissman, director of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Their research discovered that some cancer cells are able to emit a “don’t eat me” signal.

High levels of CD47, a transmembrane protein, are found on the surface of more aggressive cancer cells. CD47 then binds with another protein called SIRPalpha on the surface of macrophages, a type of white blood cell, inhibiting their ability to attack cancer cells.

In 2017, Dr. Weissman’s team published the results of a recent study that identified another protein that interferes with macrophage activity. When MHC class 1 binds with a protein known as LILRB1, it’s resistant to an antibody that has been used successfully to counteract CD47 in tests on mice with cancer.

Applications for Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment

Cancer research is complicated by the fact that different types have different “fingerprints.” The studies conducted by Dr. Weissman’s team are helping scientists learn more about strategies to “outwit” cancer cells and their ability to avoid detection.

Issels®: Pioneering Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment

Our founder, Dr. Josef Issels, was ahead of his time in focusing on the immune system as the key to defeating advanced cancer. Contact us to learn more about how we are continuing his legacy of helping patients achieve long-term remission.

Molecularly Targeted Therapy Emerges As Another Possible Cancer Treatment

Molecularly Targeted Therapy Emerges As Another Possible Cancer Treatment
Molecularly Targeted Therapy Emerges As Another Possible Cancer Treatment

The problem with traditional cancer treatments is that they attack healthy cells along with diseased cells, which results in serious side effects such as fatigue and hair loss. Doctors are encouraged by the success of a new cancer treatment that zeroes in on the cancer cells.

The “Next Revolution in Cancer Therapy”

Molecularly targeted therapy is being hailed as the next big step in cancer treatment. These new drugs are designed at the molecular level to attack the diseased cells of a specific type of cancer. In addition, they can identify specific molecules that are part of specific cancers.

The drugs are created by a process that is the reverse of how most cancer drugs are developed. Scientists identify an abnormal molecule that’s unique to a particular type of cancer, then design a drug that shuts down its activity.

Gleevec: Paving the Way

Novartis Pharmaceuticals has developed Gleevec, also known as STI571, which is leading the way for molecularly targeted therapy. Gleevec is used for chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML, which is a rare form of the disease characterized by excessive production of white blood cells.

Researchers discovered that Gleevec is also effective against GIST, a rare gastrointestinal cancer. GIST features a unique enzyme related to the original target enzyme in CML.

State-of-the-Art Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Gene-targeted therapies, including Gleevec, Tamoxifen and Avastin, are a significant part of our personalized treatment programs. Issels® also uses non-toxic immunotherapy treatments that boost the immune system’s ability to target tumor cells.

Contact us today for more information about our decades of success in helping patients achieve long-term remission.

Gut Bacteria Appears to Influence Whether or Not Cancer Tumors Will Shrink During Cancer Treatment

New Cancer Research Is Improving Treatment
New Cancer Research Is Improving Treatment

Bacteria is generally considered to be the cause of disease and infection, but many varieties have beneficial properties. Scientists are discovering that “good” bacteria living inside of us can have positive implications for cancer treatment.

How Can Bacteria Be “Good?”

The microbiome is a collection of microscopic organisms found inside our bodies, primarily in the gut. These organisms play a role in the digestive process and help to regulate the immune system.

Researchers in France and the United States conducted separate studies involving the microbiome of cancer patients. All participants were receiving immunotherapy treatment, which boosts the ability of the immune system to fight cancer cells.

The Relationship Between Gut Bacteria and Cancer Treatment

The team at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus in Paris studied 249 patients with lung or kidney cancer.

– Participants who had taken antibiotics, which disturb the microbiome, were more likely to experience tumor growth, even during treatment.

– A bacteria species known as A. muciniphila was found in two-thirds of patients who responded to immunotherapy, as opposed to only one-third of those who did not.

At the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, a team analyzed the microbiome of 112 patients with advanced melanoma.

– Patients who responded to cancer treatment were found to have a more rich and varied microbiome than those who didn’t.

– The composition of the microbiome also appeared to be significant, as higher levels of certain bacteria were associated with positive responses while others had negative impacts.

Innovative Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our immunotherapy programs focus on cancer cells as well as the internal environment that supports them. Contact us for more information.

Colon Cancer and Crohns Disease Share a Link Between Inflammation and a Cellular Process

New Research Is Unlocking the Mystery of Cancer
New Research Is Unlocking the Mystery of Cancer

Here at Issels®, it’s always exciting when we learn of new breakthroughs in cancer treatment. Research that was done by the University of Warwick shows that colon cancer (among other gut-related illnesses) could be better treated, or even prevented.

Understanding the Gut Process

Science has uncovered a lot of new information regarding the role of the gut in maintaining good health. For example, the process of autophagy triggers cells to break down damaging materials in the gut. These materials are then eliminated or re-used within the body. When this process malfunctions, it can lead to chronic diseases that impact your health. Inflammation is to blame, leading to colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, and other serious diseases.

Avoiding and Treating Colon Cancer

The foods we eat play a major role in maintaining good gut health. There are several that can activate autophagy, even when it is currently in a dysfunctional state. These foods include:

– Pomegranates

– Mushrooms

– Soybeans

– Green peas

– Red grapes

– Pears

This research has shown that the human body doesn’t always have the proper mix of amino acids necessary to keep autophagy in a functional state all of the time. However, more research is needed to better understand this important process. This may lead scientists to discover new forms of cancer treatment, perhaps even in the near future. So far, they’ve found that the addition of a protein called Kenny can be added, which includes the correct amino acids profile.

Immunotherapy as Cancer Treatment

Here at Issels®, we’re always looking for advancements in immunotherapy for treating cancer. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, please contact us today. We can help with recovery.

Focusing on a Cancer’s Host Tissue May Bring a Prognosis into Better Focus

State of the Art Treatment with Cancer Immunotherapy
State of the Art Treatment with Cancer Immunotherapy

Thanks to innovations in testing methods and proactive awareness campaigns, doctors are able to diagnose cancer earlier then ever, increasing the chances of successful cancer immunotherapy. The second part of the equation, predicting the degree of malignancy, is a puzzle that remains to be solved.

When Is a Patient Truly Free of Cancer?

After treatment, a patient who shows no signs of cancer cells is classified as “no evidence of disease.” While the patient may display no visible tumors, doctors have no way of knowing if the cells have metastasized to other areas of the body where they may later resurface.

Chemotherapy and other treatments are often prescribed to decrease the chance of metastasis. Doctors tend to err on the side of caution, assuming that all patients are vulnerable, so many endure grueling rounds of treatment that end up being unnecessary.

“Focus on the Soil, Not the Seed”

For the most part, researchers have concentrated on unraveling the mysteries of cancer cells themselves to understand how they grow and spread. In keeping with that approach, scientists believed that metastasis was caused by cells spreading outward from their original location.

Based on that theory, all cancer patients would be expected to have metastasis. Many researchers are now shifting to a view that the spread of cancer cells is caused by a pathological relationship between the diseased cells and the host environment.

State-of-the-Art Cancer Immunotherapy from Issels®

Cancer immunotherapy at Issels® is directed at the cancer cells along with the underlying causes for the development of tumors. Contact us to learn more about how Issels® has helped patients achieve long-term remission.