Dendritic cells (DC) are highly specialized antigen-presenting immune cells and play a key role in the immunologic reactions throughout the body. They are responsible for identifying pathogens such as viruses, fungi, bacteria, and malignant cells, by presenting their identifying markers (antigens) to specific T-lymphocytes, which then multiply and attack only the diseased cells, not normal healthy cells.
Since the first clinical trial (Nestle FO, et al. “Vaccination of melanoma patients with peptide- or tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells.” Nat. Med. 4 Mar 1998; 4(3):269-70) was published in 1998, the number of clinical trials with dendritic cell vaccines for various types of cancer has been increasing rapidly worldwide.
Dr. Ralph Steinman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine 2011 for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.
Dr. Harmon Eyre, the Vice President of Research at the American Medical Association commented: “Patients’ responses are far out of proportion to anything that any current therapy could do”.
For over 10 years we have integrated the dendritic cell vaccine into our comprehensive immunobiologic treatment program for all types of lymphomas and solid tumors. Experience has shown that a comprehensive immunobiologic treatment which brings about connective tissue inflammation with its cytokine cascade, can enhance activation, mobilization, and maturation of dendritic cells, and thus the effectiveness of the vaccines.
We administer the dendritic cell vaccine with or without the extracorporeal photopheresis according to the individual patient’s type and stage of the cancer. We always culture the dendritic cell vaccine in the presence of the patient’s tumor antigens in order to potentiate its effectiveness. Doses and interval depend on the patient’s response and general condition. The side effects that some patients experience may include flu-like symptoms with a rise of body temperature for several hours and pain or tenderness in the tumor area for several hours or days.
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