Category Archives: Immunotherapy for Cancer

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.

Issels®: Personally Developed Cancer Immunotherapy for All Patients

No two cases of cancer are the same. Our non-toxic immunotherapy programs are created to meet each patient’s needs, even if previous treatments have failed. Contact us to learn how we have helped numerous patients achieve long-term remission.

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.

Contact us to learn more about our non-toxic specialized treatments.

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.

Issels®: The Leader in Personalized Immuno Oncology Treatments

Our non-toxic immuno oncology programs have been successful in treating therapy-resistant cases of breast cancer and other forms. Contact us today to learn more about how we are carrying on the legacy of our founder, Dr. Josef M. Issels, who predicted the future of immunotherapy.

New Research: Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain

Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain
Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain

Bringing a new immuno oncology drug to market is an expensive and time-consuming proposition. A team of researchers is trying to expedite the process, using computer modeling to find a drug that treats metastasized breast cancer.

Can One Drug Fight Two Types of Cancer?

Triple negative breast cancer is the most difficult form to treat. Once the cancer metastasizes to the brain, survival time is generally shorter. Scientists at Houston Methodist analyzed thousands of current drugs in search of one that could prevent metastasis.

The team’s efforts paid off when they hit on edelfosine, a drug which is FDA-approved for investigational leukemia treatment. Edelfosine has also been the subject of clinical research for primary brain tumors.

In a study to test the discovery, mice were injected with triple negative breast cancer stem cells obtained from patients. The cancer cells metastasized to the brain, but treatment with edelfosine prevented the cells from further growth.

A “Game-Changer” in Immuno Oncology

Dr. Stephen T. Wong, one of the study’s authors, referred to the concept of repurposing drug compounds to prevent metastatic brain cancer as a “game-changer.” In past research, Wong and his co-workers have discovered other drugs that are being repurposed in clinical trials.

The study’s co-author, Dr. Hong Zhao, said they hope to move edelfosine to a phase II clinical study within the next few years. In addition, scientists want to investigate use of the compound on other forms of cancer.

Issels®: Successful Treatment of Therapy-Resistant Cancer

Issels® has long been ahead of the curve with non-toxic, individually created immuno oncology treatment programs. Contact us for more information.

Neoantigens , Dendritic Cells, and T Cells Target the Attack on Cancer

Knowing What Every Vocab Word Related to Cancer Is Important.
Knowing What Every Vocab Word Related to Cancer Is Important.

Immunotherapy cancer treatment continues to be a focus for scientists, who are excited about the number of possibilities it holds for patients. A Harvard-based research team recently conducted a study showing how neoantigens can be used to personalize treatment methods.

Neoantigens and the Immune Response

Neoantigens are tumor-specific mutated peptides that the diseased cells present on their surface. These neoantigens stimulate an immune system response by activating dendritic cells (DCs), which in turn initiate an attack on the tumor by T cells.

The challenge became how to integrate different peptides into a form that was readily acceptable to the immune system. David Mooney and his team at Harvard set out to solve the problem with the use of a vaccine delivery system.

The vaccine created by the researchers features tiny mesoporous silica rods (MSRs) coated with polyethyleneimine (PEI), which is a polymer that delivers material to cells. Once the vaccine is injected under the skin, the MSRs spontaneously form a 3-D scaffold to attract and stimulate DCs.

Fighting Recurrence of Tumors

When tested on mice, not only did the vaccine activate anti-tumor responses, it created an immune-specific memory that continued to reject tumor cells for at least six months. According to Mooney, the scaffold structure will allow for greater personalization of cancer treatment as doctors are increasingly able to predict the neoantigens present in individual tumors.

Cancer Treatments Designed for Each Patient

Issels® has long been in the forefront of using personally tailored cancer treatment, including dendritic cell vaccines, to meet a patient’s specific needs. Contact us for more information about our non-toxic, integrative treatment programs.

Coley’s Toxin – the First Immunotherapy?

Coley's Toxin - the First Immunotherapy?
Coley’s Toxin – the First Immunotherapy?

When it comes to cancer treatment, immunotherapy is a hot buzzword right now, but it may not be as new as it seems. Many scientists believe that the first immunotherapy treatments date back to the late 1800s.

Coley’s Toxins: The Original Immunotherapy?

William Coley, a surgeon in turn-of-the-century New York, made a peculiar discovery about one of his patients. Fred Stein, who had been diagnosed with cancer, began making a recovery after contracting a serious infection.

Dr. Coley thought that perhaps bacteria from the infection jump-started Stein’s immune system, causing it to attack the tumors. This experience inspired the doctor to begin treating inoperable cancer patients with bacterial injections that came to be known as Coley’s toxins.

While Coley’s treatments did achieve some success, there was little documentation to support his findings. As a result, the doctor’s peers continued to favor radiation and chemotherapy as cancer treatments of choice.

A Man Ahead of His Time

For all intents and purposes, Dr. Coley’s methods died with him in 1936. Now, more than 80 years later, immunotherapy cancer treatment is “here to stay,” according to Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, chief executive of the Cancer Research Institute.

Immunotherapies known as checkpoint inhibitors are some of the top-selling drugs around the world. Checkpoint inhibitors follow Dr. Coley’s principle of boosting the body’s own immune response.

Dr. Josef M. Issels: A Pioneer of Immunotherapy

We’re proud to carry on the legacy of our founder, Dr. Josef M. Issels, who was also an early proponent of immunotherapy cancer treatment. Contact Issels® for more information about our individually created immunotherapy programs.