Search for Genetic Links to Cancer Survival Could Lead to New Treatments

Cancer Advancements at the Genetic Level
Cancer Advancements at the Genetic Level

Researchers are taking a new look at why certain cancer patients survive usually fatal cancers by focusing on the genetic makeup of their cancer tumors. By studying these “miracle” survivors, researchers hope to discover how their bodies were able to target and kill cancer cells when others could not and apply that knowledge to the development of advanced targeted cancer therapies that could potentially increase the number of cancer survivors. Researchers believe that the key to cancer survival may lay hidden within the complex genetic composition of the cancer tumors themselves.

Spearheaded by the National Cancer Institute, Reuters reports that cancer researchers across the country have launched “super responder” initiatives designed to examine the role gene mutations play in the effectiveness of different drug protocols and cancer treatments. The study grew from a drug trial for patients with advanced bladder cancer conducted by Dr. David Solit, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Solit wondered why one patient not only lived while others died but has remained cancer-free for three years. He discovered that a rare combination of two genetic mutations within her cancer tumor made the patient more receptive to the drug treatment. Solit has since created an outlier clinic to study such exceptional responses in other cancer patients.

The sequencing of the human genome has opened new avenues of cancer research and spurred the development of targeted cell therapies using both drugs and cancer vaccines. As the cost of gene sequencing continues to decrease, cancer treatment is expected to shift increasingly toward individualized treatment programs based on the patient’s unique genetic profile.

How Autohemotherapy Bolsters Immune Response

Tube containing a blood sample
Autohemotherapy may boost immune response.

Autohemotherapy is a self-blood therapy that can be used in cancer treatment to help boost the body’s immune system response. Autohemotherapy is one of a number of beneficial cancer therapies that Issels cancer treatment teams may integrate into a patient’s comprehensive immunobiologic core treatment program.

Described in Mainstream Medicine Since 1913

First described by French physician Paul Ravaut in 1913, autohemotherapy is not an “alternative therapy,” but a mainstream medical “serum therapy” that has been used to treat a wide range of chronic disease conditions. Hundreds of articles on its use can be found in mainstream medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Used in Europe and South America

More commonly used in Europe and South America than in the United States, autohemotherapy involves the withdrawal of a small amount of the patient’s blood and its reinjection; usually back into the vein or into a muscle. When disease, including cancer, attacks the body, the body fights back; producing antigens and other metabolic by-products that are present in the patient’s blood.

Triggering Immune Response

By removing and then reintroducing cancer by-products back into the patient’s body, the goal of autohemotherapy is to stimulate a fresh immune system response. To enhance the immunobiologic effect of autohemotherapy, sometimes the removed blood is mixed with a homeopathic remedy or ozone before it is injected into the patient.

Many Issels patients have benefited from the inclusion of autohemotherapy in their integrative immunotherapy program (see Issels treatment reviews). However, as is true in all cancer therapies, treatment response varies with each patient. Talk to your Issels cancer treatment team about the value of including autohemotherapy in your cancer treatment program.

What Is Chelation Therapy for Cancer?

IV fluid bag
Chelatione Therapy by IV Drip

While evidence of cancer has been traced to ancient times, many people suspect that there is a relationship between the changes we humans have made to our environment and the growth of cancer into one of the world’s most prevalent and potentially lethal diseases. Since the dawn of the industrial age, human exposure to heavy metals has risen dramatically.

The explosion of new products and materials that followed World War II took heavy metals exposure from the workplace into the home. Not only did workers in more than 50 professions including physicians, dentists, laboratory workers, printers, metalworkers, photographers and artists risk health consequences from on-the-job exposure to mercury, lead and other heavy metals; but consumers were also placed at risk by heavy metals present in common household goods, including paint, tap water, cosmetics, processed foods and amalgam dental fillings.

Chelation therapy is used to rid the body of undesirable substances such as heavy metals, chemical toxins, mineral deposits and fatty plaques. Derived from the Greek word for “claw,” chelation “grabs” the offending substance, encircling the metal or mineral ion and transporting it from the body in the urine or feces.

The synthetic amino acid EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid) was first used in the treatment of lead poisoning in 1948. Intravenous EDTA chelation is now approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment for lead poisoning.

The use of chelation therapy gradually spread to the treatment of other heavy metals and conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetic arterial disease, vascular disease and cancer. For more information on the use of chelation therapy in cancer treatments, visit our website.

Cytokines: Fighting Cancer at the Cellular Level

mid section view of a man sitting on a bench in a park --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
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.

How Does Obesity Increase Cancer Risk?

Young Couple Walking Dog
Daily walk could decrease your risk of cancer.

It seems absurd that something as innocuous as taking a daily walk could decrease your risk of cancer, as well as a host of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. But, as we noted in our previous post, researchers are finding that regular exercise could be the “magic pill” that saves us from a host of ills, including cancer. Exercise promotes a healthy immune system, improving your body’s ability to fight off cancer; but it is the link between exercise and obesity reductions that intrigues cancer researchers.

Affecting the health of more than a third of American adults, obesity adversely affects the body in several ways that can weaken its ability to fight off cancer and disease:

  • Obesity can change the way your body absorbs and uses energy from the food you eat, resulting in metabolic dysfunction.
  • Obesity can interfere with the process of cytokines, disrupting cell communication which can increase inflammation.
  • Obesity can also impact the body’s endocrine system, affecting production of certain hormones that can fuel cancer tumor growth.

As little as 30 to 60 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate-intensity exercise a day can be enough to promote weight loss, help maintain a healthy body weight, protect you from the deleterious effects of obesity and reduce your cancer risk. (Tip: at moderate intensity you should be able to talk but not sing.) If you don’t have the time or stamina for a 30-minute workout, experts say you can derive the same obesity-fighting, cancer-prevention benefits from several 10-minute workouts. Cumulative exercise time and exercise intensity are what matter.

Next time: Cytokines and cancer

Could Exercise Be the ‘Magic Pill’ that Wards Off Cancer?

Senior Minority Man Working Out Set On A White Background
Could exercise fight cancer?

Exercise could be the “magic pill” we’ve all been looking for that not only thwarts the growing incidence of chronic diseases but wards off cancer. Vital to good health, physical activity offers the mind and body a panacea of healthy benefits. Exercise promotes a healthy immune system, enhances positive mind-body connection, reduces stress and aids in weight control. Regular physical activity has also been strongly linked to both cancer prevention and reduced cancer recurrence among cancer survivors.

The importance of exercise in preventing obesity appears to be the key to its importance in preventing disease and maintaining a healthy body. As CBS News recently reported in a 2-part series on the connections between cancer and exercise, decreasing your obesity risk can reduce your risk of developing a life-threatening cancer.

Not only have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked obesity, which affects more than a third of U.S. adults, to increased incidence of chronic disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer; but the National Cancer Institute  has linked obesity to increased risk of specific cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, endometrium, pancreas, colon, rectum, kidney, thyroid, gall bladder and post-menopausal breast cancer.

Why does obesity have such a profound affect on our health? Obesity appears to cause significant disruption to the body’s normal metabolic functions, even interfering with basic cell processes. We’ll discuss that next time.

Issels Integrative Oncology uses beneficial immunotherapy to restore healthy, natural metabolic and cell function. To find out more about integrative immunotherapy, subscribe to our new email newsletter.