The importance the tumor microenvironment plays in the development and metastasis of cancer is turning a new page in cancer research, treatment and prevention. As scientists work to unlock cancer’s genetic code, they are developing new understandings into how cancer cells communicate and the switches that turn tumor development on and off. At the core of many new discoveries is the complex relationship between cancer tumor cells and the microenvironment in which they develop.
European cancer researchers were early to recognize the importance of the tumor microenvironment. According to a 2010 Italian study, “Microenvironment components play a pivotal role in the regulation of the angiogenic switch and in cancer progression.” (Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels necessary for tumor growth.) The Italian study concluded:
“The comprehension of biological and molecular mechanisms involved in the relationship between tumor cells and the microenvironment could unveil new therapeutic and preventive approaches to cancer.”
Within two years, European cancer researchers were conducting clinical applications of cancer therapies that targeted the tumor microenvironment, which a 2012 Belgian study called “an essential ingredient of cancer malignancy.” According to researchers at the Laboratory of Tumor and Development Biology at the University of Liège:
“The malignant features of cancer cells cannot be manifested without an important interplay between cancer cells and their local environment. … Thus in the clinical setting the targeting of the tumor microenvironment to encapsulate or destroy cancer cells in their local environment has become mandatory.”
One thing that distinguishes Issels Integrated Oncology from other U.S. cancer treatment programs is our use of integrative immunotherapy to specifically target the cancer tumor microenvironment.