Search Is on for Preventative Breast Cancer Vaccine

Cancer Vaccine
Searching for a Breast Cancer Vaccine

Searching for a vaccine to prevent breast cancer, traditional Western medicine is once again following in the footsteps of renowned cancer specialist Dr. Josef Issels, founder of Issels Integrative Oncology. Since the development of a preventative cervical cancer vaccine, scientists have been searching for vaccines that could be used to prevent other common cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. A common problem has been lack of a clear target.

Vaccines typically target a specific virus or bacteria, but scientists have not been able to isolate a single specific cause for breast cancer. Certain viruses are known to cause cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV), for example, has been directly linked to cancers of the cervix, head and neck, vulva, vagina, penis and anus; and liver cancer can be caused by the virus Hepatitis B. While there are a number of different cancers that attack the breast and scientists speculate that breast cancer is likely to have multiple causes, the human mammary tumor virus (HMTV) is evident in 40% of all breast tumors. HMTV also seems to play a significant role in inflammatory breast cancer, a rare but deadly form of the disease.

The relationship between breast cancer and HMTV is not fully understood, but the virus has given cancer researchers a target for the development of a breast cancer vaccine that would spare women from subjecting their bodies to mastectomy, chemotherapy or radiation. Numerous vaccine initiatives are currently in progress, but personalized cancer vaccines that tap into the patient’s own immune system, like those already available at Issels appear to offer the greatest potential.

Next time: Vaccine initiatives

Immunotherapy Succeeded when Standard Treatments Failed; Cancer Patient Calls Issels Results ‘Amazing’

Immunotherapy Success for Nicole Tupper
Immunotherapy Success for Nicole Tupper

“Come. Especially if you’re still in the early stages [and] you want to know what to do when you first get diagnosed. Try this out first, you know. It’s an amazing option. If you’re willing to do the work and just listen to what they have to say, I think anyone will see results.” — Nicole Tupper, Issels Integrated Immunotherapy patient.

That’s the advice Nicole Tupper of Los Angeles offers other cancer patients after her successful experience at the Issels Integrative Medical Center in Santa Barbara, California. The young actress came to Issels after chemotherapy and radiation failed to successfully address the return of adenocarcinoma of the appendix. As Nicole notes in her video testimony, within 5 months of beginning her Issels treatment Nicole saw a 12 cm tumor “basically disappear” and she has realized a greater than 50% reduction in the number of tumors in her abdomen.

“It would be so nice if I had come here first,” Nicole said, “and that way I would be making the progress I am making but without having to get over the side effects of other things that I had done that were more detrimental to my system.” (Click here to listen to Issels Treatment Reviews in patients’ own words.)

After extensive surgery to remove a grapefruit size mass on her left ovary, Nicole was diagnosed with stage IV of a rare form of appendix cancer in  2009 and received chemotherapy. When the cancer returned in February 2012, she tried radiation. Nicole came to Issels with her abdomen full of tumors “as a last resort,” but it has proven to be a life-saving decision.

Watch her video story at or by clicking the video below.

What Women Need to Know about BRCA and Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With all the news stories appearing in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BRCA is a hot topic. As we noted last time, the highly publicized decision of some celebrities who carry the BRCA gene mutation, including actress Angelia Jolie, to undergo preventive double mastectomies has influenced more women to seek the same treatment. But cancer treatment experts say that publicity surrounding celebrity cancer prevention and treatment choices has generated an outsized fear of BRCA that is leading some women to take more dire action than may be necessary.

Naturally, each woman’s medical history and prognosis are different; but according to the Mayo Clinic, the BRCA genetic mutation is a causal factor in only about 5% of breast cancers and 10% to 15% of ovarian cancers. Even if you do carry the BRCA gene mutation, a double mastectomy may not be necessary. If you are a breast cancer survivor who does not carry the BRCA gene, your risk of developing cancer in the other breast is typically so low that a double mastectomy may not be medically indicated.

There is concern in the cancer community that fear of BRCA is leading women to make treatment choices without fully exploring all their options. Cancer is a very individualistic disease and each person’s response to cancer and cancer treatment is unique. Your decisions about preventive measures and treatment choices should be made in consultation with your Issels cancer treatment team and designed to address your personal health needs; not based on the treatment that worked for your friend, a family member or a celebrity.

Celebrity Cancer Choices Shouldn’t Influence Your Treatment Decision

Celebrity Sunglasses
Celebrity Cancer Choices Shouldn’t Influence Your Treatment Decision

The stars are coming out for cancer this month in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Television stars are appearing in public service announcements to promote cancer awareness. Celebrities from movies, TV and music are appearing on talk shows and granting interviews to share their personal stories about cancer. But celebrity cancer support can be a two-edged sword.

When celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Sharon Osbourne and Wanda Sykes share their personal cancer stories, people listen — and they start talking about cancer. “When a celebrity comes out about their experience with breast cancer, it really invigorates the conversation,” Nancy Healey, executive director of the Central and South Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, told the Asbury Park Press.

The downside is that the public often places undo importance on celebrity statements which can lead people to base their own cancer treatments on celebrity experiences. After Angelina Jolie discovered she carries the BRCA gene linked to increased breast cancer risk and went public with her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy, cancer treatment centers noticed an increase in mastectomy requests.

But, as Healey points out, “Breast cancer is different for everyone. It is really a question of finding out what works for you.” In other words, just because a certain cancer treatment worked for your favorite movie star or your best friend or your sister, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.

A leader in individualized immunotherapy, Issels Integrative Oncology creates personalized cancer treatment programs that are as unique as each patient’s response to cancer.

U.S. Goes Pink to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness

The Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon
The Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon

From pink yogurt lids to blushing tow trucks to pink shoes on the NFL gridiron,  pink has become October’s most fashionable color in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More than 2.8 million American women are undergoing or have completed breast cancer treatment.

One in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer. According to, nearly 300,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year: 232,340 with invasive breast cancer and 64,640 with non-invasive breast cancer. For nearly 40,000 women that diagnosis will prove fatal.

Men are also at risk of developing breast cancer, but their risk is far lower than it is for women. estimates a man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer at 1 in 1,000. An estimated 2,240 men are expected to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in women, accounting for nearly 30% of all female cancers. Breast cancer is also one of the top two cancer killers among women. Only lung cancer is more fatal.

Despite those grim figures, breast cancer rates have been slowly decreasing since 2000. Greater public awareness, better cancer screening methods, reduced use of hormone replacement therapy and advanced cancer treatment options appear to be contributing factors in reducing both the risk and fatality of breast cancer.

Despite heavy publicity about the increased risk of breast cancer among women who carry BRCA gene mutations or have a family history of breast cancer, “about 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer,” notes

Personalized Cancer Therapies are the Future


Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation – for decades, these three treatments have represented the standard in cancer management, despite the risky side effects of each one.

Today, however, an alternative method to treat cancer is gaining attention from researchers, doctors and allied professionals. Cancer immunotherapies, including vaccines, is a therapy model based on a non-toxic approach that uses antibodies to stimulate the body’s own immune system to fight off malignant cells before they can form into dangerous tumors, reducing the rate of recurrence and increasing remission.

“The primary advantages of active immunotherapy are its relative lack of side effects, its specificity against target tumor cells and the generation a long-lasting memory response against tumor-specific antigens,” notes the National Institutes of Health.

Such personalized approaches have already made headlines in their survival-rate effectiveness in the treatment of some ovarian and prostate cancers.

Bringing personalized immunotherapy into the mainstream as an alternative or complementary cancer treatment has been the mission of many treatment centers. In recognition of the advancements made in this form of therapy, June has been declared “Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month” by the nonprofit Cancer Research Institute. “For 60 years, CRI has remained steadfast in its dedication to realizing immunotherapy’s potential to treat and cure cancer,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute. “Because of this work, today safe and powerful new immune-based treatment options are finally available, and we are dedicated to increasing awareness and support to bring them to more patients sooner.”

Issels Integrative Cancer Treatment Centers specialize in targeted immunotherapy of cancer. We invite you to visit our website to find out more about how these cutting edge new therapies may be able to help you.