Rare cancers are more common than you think. As a group, they make up about 20% of all cancer diagnoses. However, each specific type of rare cancer is still very dangerous because the symptoms are often misdiagnosed. At Issels®, we often see patients whose rare cancer went undiagnosed despite several rounds of doctor visits and tests.
Rare cancer is defined by annual diagnoses in less than 6 out of 100,000 people
71% of all cases in people under 20 years old are rare types
39% of all cases in people 20 to 39 years old are rare types
Younger people have better survival rates for rare cancer than older people
Together, Learning More About Rare Cancers
In some cases, standard cancer treatment fails to work as well as it does for common types of cancer. On the other hand, the ACS notes that innovations in rare cancer treatment often help scientists develop better treatment for all types of cancers.
After a rare cancer diagnosis, it can be difficult to find information if your physicians are not very familiar with the disease. We specialize in advanced stage cancer treatment at Issels®, including rare types of the disease that are not responding well enough to standard therapies.
At Issels®, we offer individualized treatments including cancer vaccines developed using the patient’s own autoimmune cells. Such treatments, known as immunotherapy, are helping patients with standard therapy–resistant and advanced stages of cancer.
Learn more about our integrative immunotherapy approach to cancer treatment on our website or contact us for more info.
For many patients with difficult-to-treat tumors, immunotherapy for cancer has successfully expanded their previously limited options. According to a study recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, a new immunotherapy drug has shown promise for treatment of advanced bladder cancer.
The Power of Checkpoint Inhibitors
Researchers speaking at the ASCO conference in Chicago last June reported on the results of clinical trials for atezolizumab, marketed under the name Tecentriq. Atezolizumab is one of a growing number of treatments referred to as checkpoint inhibitors.
Cancer cells often get a foothold by flying under the radar of immune cells, which are your body’s main line of defense against bacteria, viruses and other “invaders.” Checkpoint inhibitors target a molecule called PD-L1, thereby releasing immune cells to attack and kill the rogue cancer cells.
Tumors with “High Mutational Burden” Respond to Immunotherapy
A follow-up analysis to the bladder cancer trials indicated that tumors with a “high mutational burden,” which refers to the number of genetic faults in the cells, appear to be more receptive to immunotherapy. Dr. Jonathan Rosenburg of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC explained that it was made easier for the immune system to identify the mutated cells in such tumors.
Issels®: A Leader in Immunotherapy for Cancer
Our state-of-the-art non-toxic immunotherapy treatments have been used successfully on patients with all forms of cancer, including bladder, breast and melanoma. Visit our website to learn more about our cancer vaccines, gene-targeted therapies and other protocols individually designed to address your specific needs.
If you or someone you love has received a diagnosis of bladder cancer or is in stage four and have exhausted treatment options, NBC news reports that there may be new hope for immunotherapy treatment for bladder cancer. This information is timely as July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month.
Immunotherapy for bladder cancer works by treating a person’s immune system so it has the ability to fight cancer.
According to the NBC news article, “more successful approaches, involve training immune cells to recognize a patient’s specific tumors, or finding and amplifying a patient’s own tumor-specific immune cells.” Immunotherapy now appears to be the best course of cancer treatment for many patients.
New drug, new hope
Hope now lies in a drug newly-approved by the FDA called atezolizumab (brand name Tecentriq) that boosts the immune system to slow the spread of tumors in patients in the advanced stages of bladder cancer. It’s the latest development in immunotherapy for bladder cancer treatments and it has shown promising results.
In a study of 119 patients who received the drug as treatment revealed that growth stopped in the tumors in 24% of those patients in the advanced stages of bladder cancer. The drug also shrank the tumors by 30%. According to the research team, 21 of the original patients from 2014 who received the immunotherapy for bladder cancer are still in remission today.
New Advances in Immunotherapy Treatment for Cancer Targeted immunotherapy for cancer Traditional treatments for cancer take a slash ‘n burn approach, poisoning the entire body in hopes of killing off the cancer cells faster than the healthy cells. Targeted therapies that seek out and kill cancer cells while sparing all others have long been the dream of cancer researchers. Some progress towards targeted therapies has been made. For example, Herceptin and Glivec have given new hope to patients with breast cancer and leukemia.
Immunotherapy is the New “Silver Bullet” for Cancer
Using the immune system to kill cancer cells has always seemed to be a good idea. After all, the immune system’s entire purpose is to seek out diseased cells and destroy them while sparing the healthy cells. What better tool to wipe out cancer cells? Of course this raised the question of why the immune system doesn’t naturally seek out and destroy cancer cells.
The discovery of how some cancer cells manage to stop the immune system from killing them opened up a whole new way to approach cancer treatments. Many cancer cells express a protein called PD-L1 on their surfaces. When T cells (part of the immune system) attempt to kill the abnormal cancer cells the PD-L1 binds to PD-1 on the surface of the T cells. This stops the T cells from attacking the cancer cells.
A drug called Nivolumab that blocks the interaction of PD-1 with tumor-expressed PD-L1 is the first of the drugs targeting this pathway to make it to the market. In clinical trials Nivolumab has extended the lifespan of patients with advanced melanoma. Without Nivolumab most patients with advanced melanoma don’t survive for a year after diagnosis but with Nivolumab 63% were alive a year later, and even more remarkable 43% were alive two years later.
Immune system unmasking drugs will join cancer vaccines and other therapies intended to use the immune system to fight cancer naturally. Issels Integrative Oncology has been offering individualized immunotherapy for over 60 years to cancer victims.
Medical researchers continue to make strides in the battle to control cancer. A Seattle-based biotech company has developed a drug that is showing promise for treatment of lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks the body’s immune system.
Gilead Sciences has been testing an oral drug called idelalisib. It works to inhibit development of P13K deltas, a group of enzymes commonly found in B-cell malignancies, which make up the majority of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases. A recent study was conducted through the Clinical Research Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, also located in Seattle.
The focus group was comprised of 125 patients between the ages of 33 and 87 who were diagnosed with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This particular form, also known as slow-growing, is difficult to treat as the disease often becomes resistant to therapy. After receiving twice-daily doses of idelalisib, 57 percent of the patients saw their tumors shrink by at least half while six percent showed no measurable evidence of cancer.
According to Ajay Gopal, M.D., lead researcher in the study, the patients had exhausted all current means of therapy and several had relapsed. One of the more encouraging results was the relative lack of side effects, unlike chemotherapy treatments. The most common side effects were diarrhea and colitis, which were successfully managed by adjusting the dosage. While it doesn’t appear that idelalisib is a cure, researchers are hopeful that it will be a valuable treatment for controlling lymphoma for extended periods.
Our alternative cancer treatment center uses programs of non-toxic immunotherapy tailored to your individual needs. Many of our patients have achieved long-term remission of lymphoma and other forms. Please visit our website for more information.