Tag Archives: Cancer Immunotherapy

New Immunotherapy Drug Combination Fails to Stop Cancer’s Progression

New Immunotherapy Drug Combination Fails to Stop Cancer's Progression
New Immunotherapy Drug Combination Fails to Stop Cancer’s Progression

Scientists have embraced immuno oncology research as an avenue for more effective cancer treatments. Unfortunately, the field took a temporary hit recently when Incyte pulled the plug on its latest immunotherapy drug trial.

Arming the Body’s Immune System

Incyte had high hopes for epacadostat, which works as an IDO inhibitor. IDO is an enzyme found in the body that prevents T cells in the immune system from attacking cancer cells.

In the trial, epacadostat was paired with Keytruda, a phenomenally successful immunotherapy drug from Merck. Keytruda is a checkpoint inhibitor that helps T cells recognize cancer cells, which often evade detection.

It was hoped that epacadostat would boost the effectiveness of Keytruda when taken alone. But not only did epacadostat fail to stop the progression of cancer, it had no positive effect on overall survival rates.

Is There Still Hope for Epacadostat?

While the original trial failed against melanoma, Incyte is hoping to conduct further tests with epacadostat in treating other forms of cancer. As explained by Dr. Jason Luke, an oncologist at the University of Chicago, the patient sample may have been too broad.

According to Dr. Luke, immunotherapy benefits patients with T cell-inflamed tumors. The key is to test epacadostat on patients who have a natural immune response, which can be determined via RNA-based sequencing.

Yale University oncologist Dr. Roy Herbst says the setback will not affect the enthusiasm for immunotherapy. He emphasizes that these cancer treatments are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Personalized Immuno Oncology Programs at Issels®

Our non-toxic immunotherapy programs have always been tailored individually to address each patient’s specific needs. Contact us for more information.

Immunotherapy and Gastric Cancers – What to Know

Immunotherapy and Gastric Cancers
Immunotherapy and Gastric Cancers

Immunotherapy and other targeted methods have shown promise in effectively fighting gastric and gastroesophageal junction (GSJ) cancers. At a recent summit meeting, Dr. Andrew Ko, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, discussed cancer treatment for gastric and GSJ cancers as well as current challenges.

Checkpoint Inhibitors and Gastric Cancers

In terms of recent developments, Ko pointed to last year’s FDA approval of pembrolizumab as a turning point in the treatment of advanced cancers. Pembrolizumab (trade name Keytruda) is a checkpoint inhibitor used on cancers with positive expression of PD-L1, a protein that enables cancer cells to avoid attack by the immune system.

Ko also mentioned nivolumab (trade name Opdivo), another checkpoint inhibitor. Nivolumab is used for melanoma and lung cancers, but clinical trials have shown that it has potential as a secondary treatment following chemo-radiation and surgery for patients with certain GEJ cancers.

Unfortunately, cases of upper gastrointestinal cancers continue to rise in Western countries. Ko explained that, despite improvements in immunotherapy cancer treatment, many patients are still non-responders, creating continued urgency in finding additional methods.

The Future of Gastric Cancer Treatment

According to Ko, immunotherapy still holds the greatest interest for cancer researchers.

– Studies are exploring combinations of drugs, such as nivolumab plus ipilimumab (trade name Yervoy).

– Other studies are focused on moving targeted agents from secondary to first-line treatments.

Immunotherapy for Advanced and Therapy-Resistant Cancers

Immunotherapy programs at Issels® are individually developed to help your body’s own immune system attack and destroy cancer cells. Contact us to learn why our personalized, non-toxic treatments have helped patients of all ages and types of cancer.

New Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Improves Life Expectancy

There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment
There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment

No two cases of cancer are the same, so scientists are finding that cookie-cutter cancer treatment is not always the best solution. According to a recently published study, a personalized vaccine has shown promise for boosting ovarian cancer survival rates.

Ovarian Cancer: The “Silent Killer”

An international team of researchers conducted the study of ovarian cancer, often referred to as a “silent killer” because it’s usually in an advanced stage by the time of diagnosis. Chemotherapy plus surgery is the conventional course of treatment, but team member Dr. Lana Kandalaft notes that 85 percent of patients experience recurrence.

Matching Cancer Treatment to Patient

Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that uses a patient’s own immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. In this case, researchers created a vaccine by harvesting a patient’s immune cells, then exposed them to cells from the tumor so they could be identified.

All patients in the study were treated with a combination of immunotherapy drugs, while a certain number also received the vaccine. After one year, the vaccinated group had a survival rate of 100 percent compared to 60 percent of the control group.

Results continued to be encouraging after two years. The vaccinated group showed a survival rate of 78 percent, while the rate dropped to 44 percent with patients receiving drugs alone.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Personalized Cancer Treatment

Our founder, Dr. Josef Issels, performed groundbreaking work developing immunotherapy as an integrative and holistic form of cancer treatment. Visit our website for more information about how we are continuing his legacy of helping patients with advanced and therapy-resistant cancers achieve long-term remission.

July is Bone Cancer Awareness Month – What to Know

Picture of a bone cross section
Bone Cancer or Sarcoma is in the focus in July

What are the types of bone cancer? Can it be treated with immunotherapy for cancer programs? July is Bone Cancer Awareness Month, making it a good time to share some facts about the disease from the National Cancer Institute.

Basics of Bone Cancer

As the name implies, bone cancer is a malignant tumor that forms in bone tissue. The majority of bone tumors are benign, which means they’re non-fatal and don’t spread.

On the other hand, bone cancer CAN spread to other parts of the body. Regardless of the location of the metastasis, or spread, the disease is still referred to as bone cancer based on its original site.

Types of Bone Cancer

– Osteosarcoma, usually found in the knee or upper arm, develops in hard bone tissue.

– Chondrosarcoma forms in cartilage, which is the tough but resilient tissue that cushions joints.

– The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors, or ESFTs, are thought to arise from primitive nerve tissue in bone or soft tissues.

Bone Cancer Symptoms

Chronic pain or swelling in or near a bone are the most common symptoms of bone cancer, but they could also be indicative of other conditions, so it’s important to be tested.

Treatments for Bone Cancer

Traditional treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy are often used with bone cancer patients. The NCI and other organizations also sponsor frequent clinical trials to investigate immunotherapy for cancer treatments.

Help for Patients with Stage IV Bone Cancer

Visit our website for testimonials from patients with metastasized bone cancer and other forms who have achieved long-term remission with immunotherapy for cancer at Issels®.

Cancer Gets Fuel From Fat Cells – How to Starve Tumors

It's Time to Cross Out Cancer!
It’s Time to Cross Out Cancer!

Cancer research is now going beyond the genetic aspect to explore how the disease interacts with the body’s systems. Recent studies of the relationship between cancer and fat cells may have implications concerning immunotherapy for cancer.

Feeding the Growth of Cancer Cells

While the precise causes are not yet known, obesity has been identified as a risk factor for prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. As a result, research into the link between cancer and fat cells has focused on this form of the disease.

Previous tests involved mice who were fed a high-fat diet. In contrast, researchers at Sanford Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego conducted a study using mice who lacked a protein called p62, causing them to become obese on a normal diet.

According to co-author Dr. Jorge Moscat, this control was necessary to get a clear understanding of the communication pathways between cancer and fat cells. The team discovered that p62 suppresses another protein known as mTORC1, which in turn inhibits energy use by fat cells.

Can Cancer Cells Be “Starved” to Death?

With metabolism halted in fat cells, nutrients are then available to fuel development of tumor cells. Lack of p62 also triggers production of proteins found at high levels in particularly aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

As explained by Dr. Moscat, these findings can help identify specific substances to be targeted by immunotherapy for cancer treatments with the goal of “starving” cancer cells.

State-of-the-Art Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®

Contact Issels® for information about our non-toxic, personally developed immunotherapy programs to treat advanced and therapy-resistant cancers.

Anti-Inflammatory Medicine May Improve Breast Cancer Prognosis

There is New Hope for Breast Cancer Treatment
There is New Hope for Breast Cancer Treatment

In addition to immunotherapy for cancer, many women with breast cancer will undergo surgery as part of their treatment. While cancer may sometimes spread after a mastectomy or lumpectomy, researchers have discovered that a course of anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce the risk.

What Causes Post-Surgery Cancer Spread?

Scientists have been puzzled as to why breast cancer is more likely to spread during the first 18 months post-surgery. According to a study by a research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the healing process is the surprise culprit.

As senior author Robert Weinberg explains, the patient’s immune system directs its activity toward healing the wounds left by the surgery. The result is that stray cancer cells are left free to continue growing into new tumors.

In testing on mice, anti-inflammatory drugs were successful in preventing the spread of cancer cells. While research has suggested a similar effect in humans, specific testing is needed for confirmation.

Fighting Stage IV Breast Cancer

Gastroenterologist Andrew Chan has been researching the potential of aspirin as an anti-cancer treatment. While Chan says that studies have demonstrated positive benefits, the focus has been on long-term rather than short-term recurrence.

Researchers are particularly interested in the implications of the MIT study because most breast cancer deaths are a result of metastasis rather than effects of the original tumor.

Treating Advanced Tumors with Immunotherapy for Cancer

Our integrative, non-toxic immunotherapy programs have been successful in treating patients with breast cancer and other types that have reached advanced stages. Contact us to learn why Issels® has been leading the way in effective immunotherapy for cancer treatments.