Category Archives: Immunotherapy for Cancer

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.

Innovative Research Aims to Snatch Cancer Cells by Magnetism and Nanoparticles

Innovative Research Aims to Snatch Cancer Cells by Magnetism and Nanoparticles
Innovative Research Aims to Snatch Cancer Cells by Magnetism and Nanoparticles

The more precise diagnostic methods are, the more effective immunotherapy for cancer can be. In a case of “opposites attract,” scientists recently took a giant step toward improved diagnostics with the principles of magnetism.

Putting a “Charge” in Cancer Cells

Liquid biopsy is a cancer screening technique in which blood is drawn from a patient and tested for circulating tumor cells, or CTCs. Unfortunately, CTCs are so few and far between that the blood sample may be completely free of them, resulting in a false diagnosis.

In a study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, a team of researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine tested a group of pigs with CTCs in their bloodstream.

– The CTCs were first tagged with a nanoparticle containing magnetic properties.

– In the next step, a small wire was inserted near the pig’s ear in a vein that is comparable to the ones in a human arm.

– As the tagged tumor cells drifted by, the magnetic pull caused them to stick to the wire, which was then removed from the vein.

What’s Next?

Not only did the magnetic method detect 10 to 80 times more CTCs than a typical liquid biopsy, it found 500 to 5,000 more tumor cells than an earlier wire-based model. Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir of Stanford expressed hope that the wire device could have applications for cancer treatment as well as diagnosis.

Thorough and Non-Invasive Diagnostic Procedures at Issels®

Our extensive diagnostic procedures let us create a personalized immunotherapy for cancer program that incorporates a number of complementary methods to treat the tumor along with its environment. 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.

Genetic Testing Identifies Best Immunotherapy Prospects for Prostate Cancer Patients

New Treatments for Prostate Cancer
New Treatments for Prostate Cancer

While immunotherapy has proven to be a viable form of cancer treatment, not all patients respond to the currently available methods. A major breakthrough occurred this summer, when scientists found that genetic testing could identify prostate cancer patients who are likely candidates for immunotherapy.

Treating Prostate Cancer with Immunotherapy

Last June, a major clinical trial provided the first evidence that advanced prostate cancer could be successfully treated with an immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab. Approximately ten percent of patients responded, so the question became how to determine which patients to treat.

A possible answer came in the form of a study recently published in Cell. Scientists from London’s Institute of Cancer Research and the University of Michigan joined forces to analyze tumor DNA collected from 360 men with advanced prostate cancer in various countries.

Is Genetic Testing the Solution?

Results indicated that seven percent of the tumors lacked a gene called CDK12. This feature is a hallmark of a unique genetic pattern that contains a greater amount of immune cells than other types of advanced prostate cancer.

In addition, these tumors had more neoantigens, which are proteins that alert the immune system to the presence of cancer cells. Thanks to the higher numbers of immune cells and neoantigens, the immune system already begins to recognize the tumor, which is why scientists think such tumors are more receptive to immunotherapy.

Cancer Treatment for Therapy-Resistant Tumors

Issels® uses genetic testing to individually develop cancer treatment programs that are best suited to a patient’s specific needs. Visit our website to learn how we have been successfully using integrative immunotherapy methods to treat advanced cancer.