Cytokines: Fighting Cancer at the Cellular Level

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Obesity can interfere with normal cytokine function.

Cytokines are protein molecules that help cells communicate with each other and have the power to enhance or suppress the body’s immune system. When infected or damaged cells are detected, cytokines work together to attack harmful and cancerous cells. But cytokines can also call in reinforcements, signaling other immune system cells to join the attack.

Unfortunately for the third of American adults who are obese, obesity can interfere with normal cytokine function. When obesity causes interruptions to the vital cellular communication process performed by cytokines, malfunctions in the body’s immune system can occur that can lead to cancer, as CBS News recently noted in a report on the connections between obesity and cancer.

Cytokines function as the immune system’s communication network. When that network is disrupted, the body’s cells are not longer able to communicate with each other to coordinate their attack on rogue cells. Without impediments, cancer cells can multiply and migrate without restriction. Issels Integrative Oncology’s program of integrative immune therapy restores and supports the health of your body’s cytokines — and thus your immune system — through alternative cancer therapies and cancer vaccines.

Cytokines fight or control cancer in a number of ways.  They can interrupt pathways that contribute to uncontrolled growth of cancer  cells and prevent cancer from metastasizing and spreading to other parts of the body. By binding to cancer cells, cytokines identify rogue cells and attract other immune system cells to attack them. In addition to augmenting the killing action of immune cells, cytokines aid in the repair of cells damaged by radiation or chemotherapy.

Find out more about cytokines and cancer on our website.