While the earliest attempts at immunotherapy date back more than 100 years, it presented too much of a puzzle to doctors. As a result, radiation and chemotherapy surpassed immunotherapy as the treatments of choice for cancer.
As modern research with immunotherapy uncovered more effective methods with documented track records, medical and financial floodgates have opened. Charitable organizations, pharmaceutical companies and the federal government are dedicating billions of dollars to fund hundreds of trials involving various treatments on every type of cancer.
Boosting the Body’s Own Immune System
While there is still much to learn, researchers are focusing primarily on two types of immunotherapy for cancer:
In the first method, a doctor removes some of the patient’s own immune cells and creates genetic alterations enabling them to attack cancer cells, at which point they are added back to the bloodstream.
The second method makes use of drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors, which block the mechanism used by cancer cells to evade detection and attack by the immune system.
Issels®: Leading the Way in Immunotherapy for Cancer
Our immunotherapy center has continued the groundbreaking work of our founder, Dr. Josef M. Issels, using state-of-the-art therapies to treat patients with all forms of cancer. Contact us today to learn more about our non-toxic treatments such as cancer vaccines and NK cells.
While our Issels® center has been using immunotherapy to treat cancer for years, the term has come into mainstream use fairly recently. How much do you understand about this cutting-edge treatment and the science behind it? Here’s a helpful look at the definition of immunotherapy along with how and why it works.
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is simply summed up by its name: it involves cancer treatment by way of stimulating your body’s own immune system to fight the tumors. This can be done with methods that directly target the system, or via man-made substances that supplement the system’s natural tools.
How your immune system works
When bacteria and other foreign cells enter your body, it triggers a response from your immune system, which begins producing substances to fight the invading cells. This reaction can be seen in a number of symptoms, from the redness of a sore throat to the blemishes of acne.
Unfortunately, cancer cells have ways to “trick” the immune system. One is by creating cells that aren’t different enough from normal cells to be recognized as foreign. Another is by producing alternative substances that neutralize the immune response. Immunotherapy for cancer is designed to help your immune system target these cells and giving it sufficient strength to fight them.
Fighting cancer with non-toxic immunotherapy
Vaccines and Cell Therapies prepared from the patient’s own immune cells are just two of the non-toxic immunotherapy approaches available at Issels®. Visit our website for more information about our center, along with testimonials from the many patients we have successfully treated.
You may be thinking to yourself, “isn’t going through cancer treatment enough without the need to worry about my weight?” While this is a legitimate complaint, following your doctor’s instructions is vital in order to remain strong throughout the treatment.
Going through cancer treatment takes its toll physically and emotionally but you have a hand in controlling how much. Treatment can have a decided affect on your appetite which impacts your eating habits. If both are in a negative mode of operation, the end result is weight loss, plain and simple.
Weight loss and weight gain can be a significant side effect of cancer treatment. For those losing weight, this may be caused due to a lack of appetite. Nothing seems tantalizing and while you do eat something, you may not eat as much as before taking in less calories. This will cause a loss in weight and also impacts the amount of nutrients your body needs.
For other patients, especially those who are obese, weight loss may be recommended while treatments are ongoing. A nutritionist or dietitian are good options for helping determine healthy menus that provide the calories, nutrients, vitamins, and protein to help maintain a healthy weight.
Dietary supplements are also an option for getting the fuel your body needs to handle the rigors of cancer treatment.
Learn more about integrative immunotherapy and holistic treatments at the Issels® blog. The informative articles can help answer questions and concerns you may have about the best approach to cancer treatment.
Among the many issues cancer patients must deal with on a daily basis, proper nutrition is at the top of the priority list. Whether patients are in the initial stages of cancer, advanced stages, or in remission, maintaining a balanced diet is important for many reasons including avoiding malnutrition.
A balanced diet helps deter or eliminate nutrient deficiencies in patients that can help in the healing and/or recovery process
Helps patients maintain energy levels and body strength
A proper diet helps maintain a leaner body mass and supports the immune system
Patients maintaining nutritional balance have a stronger body composition when undergoing treatments
A stronger body due to nutrition management stands a better chance of less infections
Overall, good nutrition in cancer patients and recovering patients enhances the their quality of life
Patients in the advanced stages of cancer may not be able to achieve weight gain but proper nutrition helps in other ways.
Good nutrition helps in reducing the risk of infection
Side effects from treatments may be reduced
Patients experiencing weakness may see an improvement
With reduced side effects through proper nutrition, patients may have an increased comfort level
Lessening the chances of a recurrence of the disease for those in remission or who have been cured is supported by maintaining the right diet. Proper nutrition may also help individuals avoid other illnesses including hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
Call it chemotherapy’s double-edged sword: the same powerful drugs that kill malignant cancer cells also wreak havoc on the rest of your body’s systems. The side effects go beyond hair loss, nausea and fatigue – you may be at risk for a compromised immune system.
In fact, according to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th edition, “Autopsy studies show that most deaths from acute leukemia and half of deaths from lymphoma are caused directly by infection. With more intensive chemotherapy, patients with solid tumors have become more likely to die of infection rather than underlying disease.”
If you are undergoing or have recently completed a course of chemotherapy and radiation, you can take two important steps to boost your immune system and aid recovery.
Diet. A well-balanced diet rich in iron is a natural way to enrich your immune system. Maximize iron absorption by drinking orange or grapefruit juice and adding sliced tomatoes or salsa to your entrée, and avoiding coffee, tea and milk with your meals. Herbs that boost immunity include astragalus, andrographis and ginseng. And a recent study pointed to fish oil as possibly beneficial to people with compromised immune systems.
Exercise. Getting your strength back after cancer treatment is a long process, but exercise can help you feel like your old self again. Harvard Medical School notes that “even though a direct beneficial link hasn’t been established, it’s reasonable to consider moderate regular exercise to be a beneficial arrow in the quiver of healthy living, a potentially important means for keeping your immune system healthy along with the rest of your body.”