Tag Archives: Cancer Treatment

When Cancer is Whispering, Be Persistent and Get Help with Early Treatment

Worried You May Have Cancer - Get Help!
Worried You May Have Cancer – Get Help!

Do you find yourself ignoring minor but nagging health symptoms, assuming they’re not worth a trip to the doctor’s office? Seeking help during this “whisper stage” can be the key to timely and effective cancer treatment.

When Cancer Acts Like Something Else

When actress Fran Drescher first heard her body’s “whispers,” she didn’t fit the usual profile of uterine cancer patients, so her doctor didn’t even consider an endometrial biopsy. Instead, Drescher was diagnosed with a perimenopausal condition and put on four separate hormone replacement therapies, which nearly proved fatal.

Fortunately, Drescher trusted what her body was telling her. She continued to seek help, and after two years and eight doctors, she finally received the correct diagnosis of uterine cancer.

Putting Good Health First

Drescher’s experience prompted her to form Cancer Schmancer, a charitable organization that educates people about taking a proactive approach toward prevention and early detection of cancer.

Here are some of Drescher’s top tips for taking charge of your health.

– Don’t cut corners on health care. Investing in your health is the best financial decision you’ll ever make.

– Listen to your body when it begins “whispering.’ Even if it turns out to be nothing, your peace of mind is worth a doctor appointment.

– Educate yourself. The digital revolution has put unprecedented amounts of information at your fingertips.

– Be assertive. If your symptoms don’t improve, or you feel you’re not being taken seriously, don’t be afraid to seek second and third opinions.

Cancer Treatment Designed Just for You

At Issels®, our comprehensive immunotherapy programs are created with each patient’s specific needs in mind. Contact us for more information.

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®

Our comprehensive cancer treatment programs incorporate therapies that best address a patient’s individual needs. Contact us to learn more.

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.”

Modified Polio Virus to be Tested In Brain Cancer Research Efforts

Issels the Premier Provider of Immuno Oncology
Issels the Premier Provider of Immuno Oncology

When it comes to your health, a virus is generally something to be avoided. In a surprising discovery, a virus that normally causes paralysis may hold promise as an immunotherapy for cancer treatment.

Can a Virus Actually Fight a Tumor?

Glioblastoma is the most common and most deadly form of brain cancer affecting adults. It gained a measure of public awareness after former Sen. Edward Kennedy and Beau Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, succumbed to the disease. One year ago Sen. John McCain, already a cancer survivor, was diagnosed with glioblastoma.

Poliovirus, which causes the paralyzing disease that shares its name, infects cells in the nervous system. Based on this feature, a team of Duke University scientists decided to test a genetically modified version on patients with treatment-resistant glioblastoma.

Poliovirus and the Immune System: A Two-Pronged Attack

The researchers neutralized the virus by replacing the specific gene that causes polio with one from rhinovirus, which generally causes head colds. Once infused directly into the tumors, the newly formed virus was able to infect and kill cancer cells as well as stimulate the immune system to attack the cells.

According to team member Dr. Darell Bigner, the group’s 21 percent survival rate after three years is more than five times that of a previously treated comparison group. The researchers are planning to conduct studies combining the modified poliovirus with other immunotherapy for cancer drugs in hopes of improving the results.

Treatment for Advanced and Therapy-Resistant Cancers

Our Issels® immunotherapy for cancer programs have helped a number of patients when other treatments have failed. Contact us for more information.

Should Immunotherapy be the Last Resort for Cancer Treatment?

It's Time to Cross Out Cancer! Using Immunotherapy Treatments
It’s Time to Cross Out Cancer! Using Immunotherapy Treatments

While immunotherapy for cancer has provided an exciting new avenue for scientists, there is still much to be learned about which patients will respond, leading to a serious dilemma for doctors: when all other methods have failed, is it ethical to provide cancer patients with immunotherapy treatments on an experimental basis?

If a Little Is Good, Is a Lot Better?

You need to go back only to the 1980s and 1990s for an example of the dangers of treating patients with untested methods. Many doctors began giving women with breast cancer higher-than-usual doses of chemotherapy and radiation based solely on theory, but it turned out that the treatment was worse than the disease.

Immunotherapy for cancer drugs that have received approval, such as Opdivo and Keytruda, are restricted to a narrow range of patients. Many oncologists won’t consider immunotherapy as an option outside of its designated uses.

“Desperation Oncology”: A Last Chance

Recently, though, oncologists such as Dr. Oliver Sarter of Tulane Medical Center have begun to offer what they refer to as “desperation oncology.” The reasoning is that if a cancer patient is terminal and there’s even an infinitesimal chance that an immunotherapy drug may help, it’s worth the risk.

Not surprisingly, results have been mixed. Drugs had no effect on one patient with bladder cancer who was treated by Dr. Sarter, while another patient with metastatic prostate cancer went into immediate remission upon treatment.

Tailoring Immunotherapy for Cancer to the Patient

At Issels®, we conduct a number of tests to ensure that we design a course of treatment that’s appropriate for each patient. Contact us for more information.