Tag Archives: Early Cancer Detection

Consumer DNA Screening for Cancer by “23 and Me” Wins FDA Approval

Consumer DNA Screening for Cancer by "23 and Me" Wins FDA Approval
Consumer DNA Screening for Cancer by “23 and Me” Wins FDA Approval

What if you could check your cancer risk in the comfort of your own home? One popular DNA testing company recently won approval to offer the first consumer test for genetic mutations linked to breast cancer.

In-Home DNA Screening

At a cost of $199, 23andMe’s DNA test is considerably less expensive than testing in a medical office, which can run into thousands of dollars. Existing customers of 23andMe are expected to have access to the test within the next few weeks.

BRCA gene mutations have been linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. While there are more than one thousand known mutations, the DNA test from 23andMe screens for three specific mutations that are found primarily in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

It’s estimated that one in 40 Ashkenazi Jews has one of the mutations, which results in a 45 to 85 percent chance of women developing breast cancer by the age of 70 as well as a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Men can also carry one of the mutations along with a risk of breast cancer.

How Effective Is Consumer Genetic Testing?

Geneticist Eric Topol of the Scripps Institute cautions that 23andMe’s test is a start, but testing needs to be more comprehensive. Topol adds that, since the test is limited to three mutations, people may get a false sense of security when they are actually carrying other mutations outside the scope of the test.

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Common Acid Reflux Drug May Increase Stomach Cancer Risks

Common Acid Reflux Drug Make Increase Stomach Cancer Risks
Common Acid Reflux Drug Make Increase Stomach Cancer Risks

Acid reflux is a relatively common condition that affects a number of people worldwide. Evidence from recent studies suggests that one of the more widely-used acid reflux treatments may increase the risk of stomach cancer.

H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer

Around the globe, stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer causing the third highest number of cancer-related deaths. H. pylori, a bacterium found in two-thirds of the world’s population, is a major cause of ulcers and a significant risk for stomach cancer.

A 2016 review revealed an association between long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), a frequently prescribed treatment for acid reflux, and increased risk of cancer. Scientists remained uncertain because the review failed to distinguish between H. pylori and H. pylori-negative participants.

Can Acid Reflux Treatment Increase Stomach Cancer Risk?

In 2017, researchers at the University of Hong Kong set out to find some clarity on the issue. The team separated the study group into PPI users and those using another acid reflux drug known as H2 blockers.

Nearly 64,000 participants began with a seven-day course of triple therapy, which involves use of a PPI with two antibiotics to eradicate H. pylori. Results showed that, even in the absence of H. pylori, PPI usage more than doubled risk of stomach cancer while usage of H2 blockers demonstrated no increased risk.

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New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for Eight Cancers

New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for  Eight Cancers
New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for Eight Cancers

Early detection often makes the difference in successful cancer treatment. Thanks to a newly developed blood test, doctors will soon be able to screen for eight of the more common types of cancer.

Focusing on Early Stage Cancer Detection

CancerSEEK was developed by a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. It screens for cancers of the ovaries, liver, stomach, pancreas, colorectum, lung and breast. Collectively, these types are responsible for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.

Based on the idea that circulating tumor DNA mutations can be specific cancer markers, the researchers set out to study several hundred genes and 40 protein markers. They finally ended up with segments of 16 genes and eight proteins, with the small mutation panel minimizing the possibility of false-positive results.

According to Nickolas Papadopoulos, senior author of the study, the team was inspired by the concept of using combinations of drugs for cancer treatment. When the test was administered to 1,005 patients with non-metastatic cancer, its median overall sensitivity to cancer was 70 percent with only seven false-positives.

The Future of CancerSEEK

Researchers are proceeding to larger studies of CancerSEEK. They project that once the test is approved for use the cost will be less than $500, and primary care providers will be able to administer the test with other routine blood work.

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Sponge-Like Implant IDs Early Cancer Metastatic Cells for Earlier Treatment

Early Detection
Early Detection

An exciting new development in the battle against all forms of cancer has been announced by the journal Nature Communications. Engineers have devised a sponge-like apparatus that attracts the attention of cancer cells, causing them to cluster—not in an organism’s organ—but on the man-made apparatus. This represents a step toward controlling metastatic cells in patients suffering from breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancer in the future.

FDA Approved Material

The device is made of a sponge-like “biomaterial” that has already received FDA approval for use in medical devices. Although it has only been used in lab rodents with breast cancer, the material could be tested in humans very soon. It works like a decoy to attract cancer cells and distract them from clustering in the body’s organs. So far, the results have been promising, and researchers are eager to begin the next phase.

An Effective Decoy

Ordinarily, cancer cells break loose from a tumor and are attracted to other areas in the body by immune cells. In the research results, these immune cells flocked to the sponge-like material, which is its natural reaction to any foreign body. The cancer cells end up being caught in the device and consequently reduced the numbers present at other sites, preventing them from colonizing other organs in the live test rodents and enabled researchers to extract them from the body while they remained inside the absorbent sponge-like material.

These findings are very positive and represent the ongoing strides that are being taken in the quest for a cancer cure. However, treatments like this will have to go through many stages before they can be made available to the public. To stay informed about the latest treatments available, and to receive more information about non-toxic cancer treatments, contact the Issels® Center for Immuno-Oncology.