Tag Archives: Immuno-Oncology

Autoimmune Disease May Hold a Key for More Effective Immunotherapy Treatments

Research is Under Way to Cross Out Cancer
Research is Under Way to Cross Out Cancer

Thanks to their ability to avoid detection by the immune system, cancer cells are able to rapidly reproduce and spread. In a major breakthrough, scientists have discovered that a gene associated with hair loss could provide valuable clues to improve immunotherapy for cancer.

Autoimmune Disease: The Other Side of the Coin

Ironically, a research team at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) turned to the autoimmune disease alopecia areata as the topic of their recent study, published last June in Cell Systems. While cancer is marked by failure of the immune system, alopecia represents the opposite situation, an immune system in overdrive.

Alopecia results in immune cells attacking and destroying healthy hair cells. During previous research, the CUIMC team isolated a gene called IKZF1 that causes overproduction of T cells in the immune system.

“Flipping the Switch” on the Immune System

In the latest study, the scientists demonstrated that IKZF1 is turned off in many cancer cells. The team then set out to test their theory that activating IKZF1 would trigger T cells to begin attacking tumors.

The study broke down into two parts:

– When a mouse model of melanoma was engineered to express IKZF1, the corresponding tumors revealed increased levels of immune cells.

– Analysis of data from a previous study of melanoma patients showed higher recurrence in those with disabled IKZF1.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: A Personalized Treatment

Immunotherapy for cancer programs at Issels® are focused on boosting your body’s own immune system, so they’re not accompanied by the side effects that frequently accompany conventional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Visit our website for more information.

Genetic Testing Identifies Best Immunotherapy Prospects for Prostate Cancer Patients

New Treatments for Prostate Cancer
New Treatments for Prostate Cancer

While immunotherapy has proven to be a viable form of cancer treatment, not all patients respond to the currently available methods. A major breakthrough occurred this summer, when scientists found that genetic testing could identify prostate cancer patients who are likely candidates for immunotherapy.

Treating Prostate Cancer with Immunotherapy

Last June, a major clinical trial provided the first evidence that advanced prostate cancer could be successfully treated with an immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab. Approximately ten percent of patients responded, so the question became how to determine which patients to treat.

A possible answer came in the form of a study recently published in Cell. Scientists from London’s Institute of Cancer Research and the University of Michigan joined forces to analyze tumor DNA collected from 360 men with advanced prostate cancer in various countries.

Is Genetic Testing the Solution?

Results indicated that seven percent of the tumors lacked a gene called CDK12. This feature is a hallmark of a unique genetic pattern that contains a greater amount of immune cells than other types of advanced prostate cancer.

In addition, these tumors had more neoantigens, which are proteins that alert the immune system to the presence of cancer cells. Thanks to the higher numbers of immune cells and neoantigens, the immune system already begins to recognize the tumor, which is why scientists think such tumors are more receptive to immunotherapy.

Cancer Treatment for Therapy-Resistant Tumors

Issels® uses genetic testing to individually develop cancer treatment programs that are best suited to a patient’s specific needs. Visit our website to learn how we have been successfully using integrative immunotherapy methods to treat advanced cancer.

Lung Cancer Numbers Rise in Female Non-Smoking Populations

Cancer Rising in Female Non-Smokers
Cancer is Rising in Female Non-Smokers

As the most common form of the disease worldwide, lung cancer is a primary target of immunotherapy for cancer research and testing. Unfortunately, scientists are alarmed at the rising incidence of lung cancer in women and non-smokers.

Non-Smokers Are Not Immune to Lung Cancer

The link between tobacco and lung cancer is well-known, leaving many people to mistakenly believe that only smokers will develop the disease. The facts are that approximately 15 percent of lung cancer cases are non-tobacco-related.

This anomaly is especially pronounced among women. Studies show that 20 percent of women who are diagnosed with lung cancer are lifelong non-smokers, compared to only 10 percent of men. Data from the U.K. reveals that, among patients undergoing lung cancer surgery over a six-year period, women made up 67 percent of the group that had never smoked.

Lung Cancer and the Gender Gap

In another dubious distinction, lung cancer rates in women have risen over the last 20 years, even as they’ve fallen in men. Researchers attribute this development to two possible causes:

– There is some evidence that women’s DNA is more vulnerable to damage caused by carcinogens contained in tobacco.

– At one time, smoking among women was relatively rare. Gains in gender equality appear to have resulted in more women taking up the habit.

Scientists urge anyone who experiences symptoms such as unexplained coughing, chest pains and shortness of breath to see their doctor, even if they’ve never smoked.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: When Other Treatments Have Failed

Our personalized immunotherapy for cancer programs have helped patients with both primary lung cancer and lung metastases. Contact us for more information.

Test on New Drug that Contains Cancer Cell Metastasis

Tests on New Drugs That May Provide Better Treatment
Tests on a New Drug That May Contain the Spread of Cancer

At Issels®, our immunotherapy for cancer treatments are often used with patients whose tumors have spread to other parts of the body. Over the last few years, an international research team has made significant progress in developing a drug that limits the movement of cancer cells.

Stopping the Spread of Cancer Cells

Metastasis is the term for the ability of cancer cells to move throughout the body and establish tumors in locations away from the primary site. Once a tumor metastasizes, it presents a greater challenge for successful treatment.

While cancer research primarily focuses on treating tumors directly, a multinational team of scientists decided to investigate possible methods of interfering with cancer cells’ motility. If migration could be contained, it would help prevent tumors from entering later, hard-to-treat stages.

KBU2046: Putting the Brakes on Metastasis

In 2011, the team identified a drug called KBU2046 that binds to heat-shock proteins found in all cells, preventing cell movement. Original testing was done on human cell models of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer in vitro.

The team’s most recent study, published in June, extended testing to mouse models. Scientists were able to confirm that KBU2046 targeted cancer cells only, sparing healthy tissue, and further refinements eliminated any side effects.

The researchers believe that the positive results justify their unorthodox approach. Next step on their agenda is obtaining funds to conduct further studies in preparation for clinical trials.

Integrative Immunotherapy Treatments for Late-Stage Cancer

Numerous patients with advanced and therapy-resistant tumors have achieved long-term remission with our personally developed immunotherapy for cancer programs. Visit our website to hear and read their first-person testimonials.

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.

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.”