Category Archives: Immunotherapy

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

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Special Adoptive T Cell Therapy Reprograms Metabolism of Cancer Cells Causing Their Death

New Cancer Research is Focused on T Cells
New Cancer Research is Focused on T Cells

“Everything in moderation” is often cited as the key to balance in life, but scientists are taking a different approach in a new form of cancer treatment. According to the results of a recent study, driving up levels of oxidative stress can be fatal to cancer cells.

Reprogramming the Metabolism of Cancer Cells

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as peroxide and superoxide are natural byproducts of the metabolism of oxygen, and they play a role in certain cell functions. But while high levels of ROS can kill normal cells and damage DNA, energy-hungry cancer cells consume greater quantities of ROS.

In a study published in Cell Metabolism, a research team at Augusta University examined the effects of adaptive T cell therapy on the metabolism of cancer cells. Testing was conducted on mice with large colorectal tumors.

When Oxidative Stress Becomes Fatal

Adoptive T cell therapy followed treatment with a chemotherapy drug that boosted the activity of the infused T cells. Nearly all the mice experienced complete tumor regression as an apparent result of two factors:

– Treatment interfered with production of an antioxidant called glutathione, causing ROS levels to rise.

– T cells increased production of proinflammatory cytokines, chief among them tumor necrosis factor alpha, making cancer cells even more vulnerable to oxidative stress.

Dr. Gang Zhou, author of the study, expressed hope that these findings will help improve immunotherapy treatments by making it easier for T cells to target tumors.

Personalized Cancer Treatment at Issels®

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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.

Tel Aviv University Nanoprobes Light Up Stray Cancer Cells

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

While cancer treatment often includes surgery, even a few missed cells can lead to recurrence and metastasis. Recent development of a “smart probe” that pinpoints cancer cells may greatly improve the effectiveness of surgical options.

Challenges of Surgery as Cancer Treatment

Removal of solid tumors can still leave behind stray cells that evade detection by MRI or CT. In some cases, surgeons end up damaging otherwise healthy tissue in an effort to excise all diseased cells.

Extensive studies by an interdisciplinary team at Tel Aviv University culminated in development of a nanoprobe that literally shines a light on cancer cells. When injected into a patient a few hours before surgery begins, the probe can alert the surgeon to the presence of cancer cells that might have been missed.

“Shedding a Light” on Cancer Cells

The probe is activated by the presence of an enzyme known as cysteine cathepsins, which occurs in higher numbers in tumor cells than in healthy cells. When the probe identifies cancerous cells, it triggers a fluorescent signal in those areas, while healthy tissue remains dark.

In tests conducted on mice with melanoma and breast cancer, the survival rate of mice that underwent probe-assisted surgery was double that of the mice who received regular surgery. Now that the team has registered patents for the technology, the next step is to start clinical trials with hopes of commercially marketing the probe.

Issels®: The Leader in Personally Developed Cancer Treatment

Our comprehensive cancer treatment programs incorporate a wide range of methods in order to address each patient’s individual needs. Contact us to learn more about the “Issels® Difference.”

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.