Careful with Antibiotics During Cancer Treatment!

Doctors always take care when prescribing combinations of drugs due to possible negative interactions. It’s not surprising that mounting evidence indicates the complex balance of targeted cancer treatment can be upset by use of antibiotics.

Disrupting the Body’s Natural Defenses

According to results of a study conducted at the Georgia Cancer Center, this problem stems from the effect of antibiotics on gut microbiota, the network of bacteria, viruses and fungi that resides in the digestive tract. These “good” germs aid with digestion and protect our system from “bad” germs.

In the process of killing off microorganisms that cause infections, antibiotics also destroy large amounts of gut bacteria. As a result, patients on a course of antibiotics often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

The Connection Between Gut Bacteria and Cancer Treatment

Dr. Gang Zhou, corresponding author of the study, explained that certain bacteria in the microbiota are necessary to activate the T-cells involved in cancer treatment known as adoptive T-cell therapy. A newer form of treatment called CAR T-cell therapy appears to be resistant to the antibiotic effect because it works on its own, with little reliance on the immune system.

Co-author Dr. Locke Bryan pointed out that antibiotics are often used in conjunction with chemotherapy. This traditional cancer treatment lowers white blood cell counts to the point where there’s no defense against bacteria, and an infection can be lethal to an already weakened immune system.

Individualized Treatment Plans for Specific Needs

Our personally tailored immunobiologic core treatments are designed to remove or repair factors that inhibit the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Contact us for more information.

Cancer Genome Atlas Reveals an Inherent Weakness in Tumor Cells

In genetic analyses of cancer cells, scientists have focused largely on the DNA component. Thanks to a genetic database compiled over 13 years, researchers have discovered that information found in RNA may possibly enable expanded use of cancer immunotherapy.

What Is the Cancer Genome Atlas?

The Cancer Genome Atlas was a joint project between the US National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Genomics and the National Human Genome Research Institute. Genetic information from tumor cells representing 33 types of cancer was gathered from thousands of patients.

In 2017, the project came to its planned conclusion. Going forward, scientists will continue to mine the data in search of applications toward improved prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.

A New Clue in Cancer Detection

Just after the conclusion of the Atlas project, a research team headed up by Gunnar Rätsch, professor of biomedical informatics at ETH Zurich, took on an analysis of the database. They were aided by a supercomputer that was capable of processing several hundred terabytes of raw data.

RNA, which “transcribes” DNA, first undergoes a series of changes known as alternative splicing. In this process, specialized enzymes remove sections from an RNA molecule and join the remaining sides together.

While alternative splicing can take many variations, Rätsch’s team discovered tens of thousands of previously undescribed forms of splicing that were present in cancer cells. Up to 75 percent of the cases studied contained these variations, so the team is hopeful that further research could lead to using these markers for expanded cancer immunotherapy treatment.

State-of-the-Art Cancer Immunotherapy

At Issels®, we have always remained in the forefront of cancer studies and treatments. Contact us to learn more about our personalized, non-toxic programs and how they have helped patients with advanced cancer patients achieve long-term remission.

New Urine Test May Allow Dismissal of Prostate Biopsy

Urine samples can be used to detect a wide range of conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy and drug abuse. Researchers are now working on developing a urine “sniff test” that can help reduce the number of unnecessary prostate cancer biopsies.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Among men in the United States, cases of prostate cancer are second only to skin cancer. Approximately one in seven men will require cancer treatment for the disease at some point in their lifetime.

One of the signs of prostate cancer is an elevated blood level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Unfortunately, unrelated conditions can also cause high PSA levels, so a biopsy is necessary for a specific diagnosis.

The Nose Knows

A study showed that dogs could smell the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the urine of men with prostate cancer at 98 percent accuracy, prompting a team at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to investigate further.

After collecting urine samples from 100 men undergoing prostate biopsies and neutralizing the pH to prevent degradation, the team discovered that a particular set of VOCs was present in 90 percent of the men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer but absent in the men who were cancer-free.

The researchers plan to validate their findings with a large-scale study and comparison to the results with dogs. If all goes well, they project that a version of the sniff test will be available for clinical use within a few years.

Personalized Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our individually developed immunotherapy programs are based on special testing to identify your particular needs. Contact us for more information.

Pre-Surgical Immunotherapy May Improve Some Cancer Outcomes

As a popular saying reminds us, timing is everything, and that’s also true with cancer treatment. Researchers have discovered that pre-surgical cancer immunotherapy can improve outcomes with certain types of cancer.

How Does Immunotherapy Work?

Chemotherapy, surgery and other traditional cancer treatments have been used with varying degrees of success. Maximum dose limits and tumor resistance are some of the drawbacks that hamper their use. These therapies also affect healthy cells as well, resulting in side effects ranging from mild to serious.

As the name implies, immunotherapy aims to boost the ability of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. Since immunotherapy is a non-toxic treatment, it potentially eliminates or reduces many of the common side effects that accompany other methods.

Since cancer cells are derived from normal cells, the immune system on its own will often ignore them. Immunotherapy serves as “reinforcements” by training the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.

Benefits of Pre-Surgical Cancer Immunotherapy

Antibody therapy promotes the process of phagocytosis, in which macrophages actually ingest cancer cells. This treatment works best on leukemia rather than solid tumors.

Surgery is often the first course of treatment with tumors such as colorectal cancer, especially when the cancer has not yet spread, or metastasized. Unfortunately, surgery sometimes allows cancer cells to seep into the bloodstream, where they can circulate throughout the body.

Post-surgery antibody therapy has not been particularly effective. However, experimental models have shown that pre-surgical antibody therapy can stimulate phagocytosis with macrophages that are already present in the liver, which filters blood.

Personalized Therapies for Long-Term Success

Our individually-tailored therapies have helped a number of stage 4 patients achieve long-term remission, even when other treatments have failed. Contact us to learn more about the Issels® Difference.

 

Living with Cancer May be a New Normal

Not so long ago, a diagnosis of cancer was the worst news a patient could hear. Flash forward to today when, thanks to remarkable improvements in cancer treatment, patients are learning to live with the disease as their “new normal.”

Liz Burke: One Woman’s Story

In TheJournal.ie, an Irish news website, a woman named Liz Burke shared her experiences in honor of Daffodil Day, a fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society. Liz was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.

After a lumpectomy, Liz underwent a course of chemotherapy followed by another of radiotherapy. She demonstrated her sense of humor by relating a story about purchasing a wig to cover her baldness and finding it one day in the mouth of her Jack Russell terrier.

Two years later, Liz’s doctor discovered that breast cancer cells had metastasized to her liver. This triggered another nine months of chemotherapy followed by two years of maintenance, but the good news is that the tumors became inactive.

Finally, one more blow. After five years, the breast cancer metastasized again, this time resulting in a brain tumor. Liz had surgery to remove the tumor and radiotherapy treatment afterwards.

“People Survive Cancer”

These days Liz follows a regular schedule of MRIs, CT scans and weekly infusions. Her message? “People can live quite happily alongside cancer.” Liz believes we’re lucky to live in a time when so much progress is being made with new and effective cancer treatment.

Issels®: There IS Life After Cancer

Many of our patients at Issels® have similar stories of hope and recovery. Visit our website to read and hear their testimonials.

Nicotine Dependence May Be a First Pathway to Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in the U.S., as well as a top cause of preventable cancer death. Although anyone can develop this type of cancer, certain individuals have a higher risk. Those who smoke or have nicotine dependence face a considerably increased risk of having lung cancer.

With more research focusing on improving outcomes for lung cancer through cancer immunotherapy and other treatment methods, scientists need to learn more about the causes of this disease. A research team at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine studied potential pathways that lead to lung cancer.

Nicotine Dependence as a Pathway

Researchers studied possible pathways that allow a chromosome called 15q25.1 to raise an individual’s risk of lung cancer. This chromosome has previously been identified as a genetic component that can increase lung cancer risks in some individuals. The research team found two pathways associated with this chromosome that could help explain how it leads to a higher lung cancer risk.

Nicotine dependence is linked to the first pathway that the researchers found. This finding has helped scientists better understand how lung cancer develops and why individuals with a history of smoking and certain genetic components face a significantly higher risk of having lung cancer. The second pathway is linked to biological processes, including those involving the immune system.

Improved Lung Cancer Treatments

The findings of this research could pave the way for improved treatments for lung cancer. Scientists can use these findings to come up with ways to block risky genetic variants, resulting in better outcomes for those with cancer. The results of this study might also be used to develop more effective ways to treat lung cancer using the body’s immune system or other methods.

For more information on cancer treatment and cancer immunotherapy, please contact Issels® today.

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