Tag Archives: Center for Immuno-Oncology

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 Research: Programming DNA to Deliver Targeted Cancer Treatment

New Research: Programming DNA to Deliver Targeted Cancer Treatment
New Research: Programming DNA to Deliver Targeted Cancer Treatment

DNA carries the genetic information that makes you who you are. While DNA directs protein production by cells, scientists have discovered a way to turn DNA into an on/off switch for applications in cancer treatment.

DNA: A Protein Computer

In essence, DNA operates like a computer. Just as all digital data relies on various configurations of a two-component code, DNA uses different arrangements of a four-component code to determine which proteins need to be manufactured.

This similarity has given rise to a field called DNA computing. A research team at the University of Delaware recently engineered DNA strands with a code to create circuits programmed to open and close based on a specific logic.

Leveraging DNA Code

The next step was to make and purify the proteins that the scientists wanted to use. Once the custom-made DNA strands were received from the manufacturer, the proteins were attached to form protein-DNA conjugates.

When the DNA circuits were tested on both E. coli bacteria and human cells, the target proteins went through a series of stages just as they had been programmed to do.

Applications for Cancer Treatment

Once the DNA circuits proved to be successful, the UD team tested them with cancer prodrugs, which are inert until they’re metabolized into therapeutic form. The scientist designed DNA circuits to control the protein that triggers metabolism of the prodrug. Professor Wilfred Chen, lead author of the study, anticipates a future of “plug-and-play” DNA circuits.

Advanced Immunotherapy at Issels®

Our integrative cancer treatment programs often incorporate gene-targeted therapies and other methods that address a patient’s individual needs. Contact us to learn more.

Swiss Group Studies Dendritic Cell Vaccines with Artificial Receptors

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

One of the challenges doctors face with cancer treatment is designing a program to meet a patient’s unique needs. Immunotherapy for cancer is helping to provide solutions to this problem, such as recent improvements to dendritic cell vaccines.

Immunotherapy: Priming the Body’s Immune System

While the body’s immune system is extremely capable when it comes to fighting viruses, bacteria and other invaders, cancer cells often demonstrate a remarkable ability to evade detection. Immunotherapy works by enhancing the immune system’s power to target and destroy cancer cells.

Dendritic cells are one of the immune system’s “messengers” that present antigens to killer T-cells for destruction. Researchers in Switzerland began looking for a way to improve the effectiveness of dendritic cell vaccines.

Helping the Immune System Recognize Cancer Cells

Prof. Michele De Palma and his team created artificial receptors known as EVIRs, which are inserted in dendritic cells extracted from a patient. Once reintroduced into the patient’s system, the EVIRs are engineered to recognize exosomes that transport molecules between cells, sometimes assisting in the spread of cancer.

As EVIRs capture exosomes, it allows dendritic cells to present antigens on their outer surface, simplifying recognition and attack by killer T-cells. De Palma and his team have dubbed this phenomenon “cross-dressing,” and they’re hoping that the process will improve the specificity of cancer treatment.

Issels®: A Successful Legacy of Immunotherapy for Cancer

At Issels®, we are exclusively focused on immunotherapy for cancer with patients who have advanced or therapy-resistant cancers. Contact us to learn more about our dendritic cell vaccines and other non-toxic, personally tailored immunotherapy treatment programs.

The Issels Story – a Focus on Immunotherapy

Another Step in Stopping Cancer
We Are Dedicated to Stopping Cancer

Immunotherapy for cancer has been a hot topic in the news lately, but the methods are far from new. Our founder, Dr. Josef Issels, was a pioneer in the field of integrative immuno-oncology dating back to the mid-20th century.

Josef Issels: A Life Dedicated to Fighting Cancer

Dr. Issels began his trailblazing path in 1948, conducting extensive research on the causes of cancer while working in his native Germany. His studies focused on the role of the immune system in fighting cancer as well as microbial aspects of the disease.

In 1951, Dr. Issels founded the first hospital in the world devoted exclusively to integrative immunotherapy, focusing on patients for whom traditional treatments had failed. The revolutionary Issels program went above and beyond standard tumor-centered treatments, and many patients experienced partial or total long-term remission.

As the integrative procedures developed by Dr. Issels continued to generate successful results, the hospital added 35 beds in 1970 for a total of 125. The scope of research also expanded to include programs such as vaccines, hypothermia and mycoplasma.

After Dr. Issels retired, he brought his innovative immuno-oncology programs to America. Since his death in 1998, his wife, Ilse Marie, has continued his work alongside their sons, Christian and Hellmut. The trio has maintained the same dedication and level of excellence set forth by Dr. Issels.

Issels® Continues to Lead the Way in Immunotherapy for Cancer

Nearly 70 years later, our patients continue to benefit from the foresight and tireless work of Josef Issels. Contact us for more information about our state-of-the-art programs that are personally tailored to meet each patient’s specific needs.

What’s Happening in Immunotherapy Research – Part Two

Advances in Cancer Therapies
Advances in Cancer Therapies

There’s so much exciting news in research involving immunotherapy for cancer that we couldn’t cover it all in one post! Here’s a continuation of our look at new and improved ways scientists are finding to fight cancer.

Cancer Vaccines

Vaccines have long been a promising form of treatment for cancer. One roadblock limiting progress is the ability of cancer cells to fly under the radar of the immune system.

Armed with a growing body of knowledge gained through years of research, scientists are finding methods to boost the effectiveness of vaccines. For example, vaccines are sometimes given in tandem with substances called adjuvants that make the immune response more efficient.

Checkpoint Inhibitors

You may have seen advertisements for products such as nivolumab, which is referred to as an immune checkpoint inhibitor. Cancer cells often elude the immune system by “hiding” behind checkpoint proteins that prevent immune responses against normal cells. Inhibitors target the checkpoints, freeing the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Oncolytic Viruses

Viruses are normally something to avoid, but researchers have found ways to harness their ability to infect and kill cells. Specific modifications alter certain viruses, creating oncolytic viruses that direct their attacks toward cancer cells, while also alerting the immune system to take action.

Is Immunotherapy for Cancer the Answer for You?

For years, Issels® has been a leader in immunotherapy treatments such as cancer vaccines and gene-targeted therapies. Contact us for more information about our non-toxic immunotherapy programs and how they are individually tailored to meet your specific needs.

What’s Happening in Immunotherapy Research – Part One

What's New in Immunotherapy
What’s New in Immunotherapy

As immunotherapy for cancer continues to gain traction in the medical community, researchers around the globe are directing their efforts toward finding new treatment methods and improving existing ones. Here’s a look at some of the exciting developments in immunotherapy treatments that are making news today.

Refining Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, are proteins that take advantage of the difference between cancer cells and normal cells. Scientists are exploring ways to make mAbs even more powerful, such as attaching them to drugs or other substances, while making them less likely to trigger an immune response. They are also working on combining mAbs for a more focused attack on tumors.

CAR T-Cells

T-cells, which are part of the immune system, have long been a major subject of immunotherapy research. Recent trials involve removing T-cells from a patient, genetically adding CARs (chimeric antigen receptors), then returning them to the patient’s blood, where they can more precisely target cancer cells. This method has shown particularly promising results in cases featuring advanced forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes

Another approach using T-cells centers on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) found deep within tumors. The TILs are removed from tumor samples and treated with interleukin-2 so they multiply rapidly. Once injected back into the patient, the TILs are better equipped to fight cancer cells.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Immunotherapy Treatments

In our next post, we’ll continue our look at the latest updates on research centering on immunotherapy for cancer. Contact us to learn more about how Issels® has been a leader in personalized, non-toxic immunotherapy protocols.