Recent Gene Mutation Discovery Linked to Prostate Cancer Offers New Testing and Treatment Hopes

Cancer Support.
Reducing The Chance of Prostate Cancer

We believe at Issels® Immuno-Oncology that integrative immunotherapy treatment plans are critical for successful patient outcomes; which is why we are so excited about the following prostate cancer risk detection and screening news:

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 27,540 American men will die from prostate cancer this year. Yet, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have finally found their first link between inherited genes and prostate cancer — a HOXB13 gene mutation.

The Details

Researchers took samples from 5,100 prostate cancer patients who were 55 years old or younger (94 families represented) and 1,400 healthy men. After sequencing more than 200 genes, they found the following:

  • 72 men in four families carried the same HOXB13 gene mutation.
  • Only one man in the control group had it.

Although these results aren’t definitive proof that the mutation causes prostate cancer, it does appear to be a factor. The researchers also found two more mutations among African men, but they need a larger sampling to confirm if these mutations also play a role.

The Big Picture

Doctors trace the risk of inherited breast cancer in women through tests that look for mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can contribute to cancer growth. The HOXB13 mutation offers hope that doctors might one day be able to test men for genetic links in a similar fashion.

Since men with the HOXB13 gene mutation carry 10-20 times more risk of getting prostate cancer before they reach 55 years old, the discovery of this gene is a scientific breakthrough. At Issels®, we search for breakthroughs like these every single day. Contact us today for more information!

Good News: Declines in US Cancer Mortality Reported

Decline In Cancer Mortality
Decline In Cancer Mortality

Our team at Issels® always tries to give you up-to-date cancer-related news, but one area we haven’t discussed much recently is news about cancer mortality trends.

Modern Medicine Is Working

As reported in the March 2015 Journal of the National Cancer Institute’s, “The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2011,” which was researched by cancer experts from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Cancer mortality rates have dropped for over thirty years among men, women and children.
  • These rate declines have occurred across almost every type of cancer category with the greatest decline in deaths among lung, colorectal and prostate cancer cases.
  • New cancer cases among men declined across the country.

Prevention methods, early detection and treatment advances are believed to be the primary reasons for these fantastic trends.

Constant Vigilance Is Still Necessary

This news doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to create new methods for preventing, detecting and treating all cancers. The authors of the report discovered that:

  • More cases of kidney and thyroid cancers are happening among adults.
  • Higher mortality rates are still happening among patients who have uterine cancer, all adults with liver cancer and men with oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

Yet, in many cases, changing these rates may only require more public intervention efforts to prevent behaviors that influence cancer growth; and greater precision medicine.

We hope that this news gives you and your loved ones hope for the future. For more information about these cancer mortality trends, or to discuss our treatment options, contact us today!

Kidney Cancer Beaten by Innovative Immuno-Oncology Treatments

Preventing Kidney Cancer
Preventing Kidney Cancer

Philip Prichard sought out oncologist Nizar M. Tannir at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center in February 2013 with a massive 8-inch, 3.5 pound tumor and just months to live. Despite a previous surgery and other therapies, Prichard’s renal cell cancer had spread to his liver and lungs.

The last hope?
A clinical trial run by Tannir utilizing immunotherapy – the body’s own immune system – to fight cancer cells. The immune-oncology drugs were hoped to enable Prichard’s immune system, specifically his T-cells, recognize and destroy cancer cells that would have previously escaped detection.

The results?
Two weeks after the first treatment, Prichard’s fever, pain, night sweats, weight loss and anemia were relieved. After eight weeks and four infusions, the tumor shrunk approximately 50-60%. After two years, Prichard is so healthy Tannir must now decide if it’s time to stop Prichard’s treatments.

The immuno-oncology breakthrough?
Highly expensive, but effective drugs including ipilimumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab that have been approved by the FDA for immuno-oncology. Though they are not a one-size-fits all option, talk at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual conference in Chicago is expected to be dominated by these immuno­therapies.

The trickle-down effect?
Dozens of studies are now underway seeking to expand on recent successes, and widen the scope of treatable cancers to include bladder, breast, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, head and neck tumors, and more. The immunotherapy drugs are also being tested in varying combinations with each other and other therapies. Early results look promising.

Today, immuno-oncology is being hailed as the fourth pillar of cancer treatment. Are you taking advantage of its miraculous results? Get your hope and your life back – contact Issels® the experienced cancer immunotherapy expert today!

Mainstream Medicine Embraces Immunotherapy Treatment for Cancer

Immunotherapy is Becoming More Mainstreem
Immunotherapy is Becoming More Mainstreem

A study designed and led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York of a new immunotherapy cancer treatment is being hailed by researchers at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology as a potent new weapon in the fight against cancer. What is this revolutionary treatment? The body’s own immune system. Those involved in the study are divided as to just how excited to get over the results, however, and Issels® wants to give you the inside scoop…

The therapy?    
Cancer, unlike most other diseases, involves the body’s own immune cells gone rogue. Unrecognized as a threat, the immune system cannot target the dangerous cells. The therapy in question, however, can switch the body’s immune system back on: a combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab, created by Bristol-Myers Squibb, who sponsored the study.

How effective is it?
It halted the advancement of skin cancer melanoma for nearly a year in 58% of subjects. It has also shown promise in other hard to treat cancers, such as lung cancer and those that metastasize.

Why everyone is not 100% sold…
Thirty-six percent of patients involved in the study had to stop treatment due to side effects – stomach inflammation and bowel issues serious enough to require hospitalization. This led experts to caution treatment benefits may not offset the risks for some patients. Researchers also have yet to study the long-term survival rates for the immunotherapy, therefore physicians and patients have been advised to weigh these considerations carefully as studies of the combination continue.

Are you looking for game changing cancer treatment? Immunotherapy works we are experts in its administration to fight cancer! Contact Issels® to learn more about possible treatment options today.

New Research: Melanoma Drug Causes Decrease in Lung Cancer Tumors

Lung Cancer On The Decline
Fighting Lung Cancer With Skin Cancer Drugs

At our Issels® Integrative Immuno-Oncology centers, we treat a wide variety of cancers including lung cancer. As previously mentioned, we offer this blog to give patients, caregivers, doctors, researchers, educators and students as much information as possible about new, beneficial immunotherapy advances that we feel can help patients.

As reported in May in the New England Journal of Medicine, a recent study found that nivolumab (Opdivo), a new immune checkpoint inhibitor drug that reveals cancer cells that pretend to be healthy cells to help push the immune system to destroy the cancer, is stopping the spread of melanoma and lung cancers almost two times better than ipilimumab (Yervoy).

Side Effects

Side effects with all immunotherapy drug treatments continue to be a problem for as many as 70 to 80 percent of patients. These two drugs were no different. Both caused side effects and the effects increased when the drugs were tested in combination.

Positive Outcomes

Researchers believe the outstanding results outweigh any side effects given there were no deaths during a trial that focused on 945 patients who had advanced and untreated melanoma. Best yet:

  • Patients who received nivolumab experienced a 7-month disease slowdown and a 34 percent tumor reduction versus a 3-month ipilimumab slowdown and 6 percent tumor reduction.
  • Combining both drugs resulted in a 11.5-month slowdown and a 52-percent reduction.

We believe at Issels® that the discovery of nivolumab (Opdivo) as a lung cancer treatment option, and the discovery of the higher effectiveness of the drug when used in combination with ipilimumab (Yervoy), represent incredible breakthroughs in immunotherapy and non-toxic treatment solutions. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Chemotherapy Takes a Back Seat to Immunotherapy for One Patient

Fighting Cancer
Fighting Cancer

Who could testify to the benefits of immunotherapy with more credibility than an actual patient? Philip Pritchard of Memphis was diagnosed with renal cell cancer. Thanks to treatment with immunotherapy drug nivolumab, Pritchard has seen all traces of the disease virtually disappear.

Pritchard’s battle with cancer

Even after undergoing surgery and other treatments, Pritchard’s cancer had metastasized to his liver and lungs. An eight-inch, three-and-a-half pound tumor had been removed from his kidney. Pritchard had only months to live when he came under the care of oncologist Nizar M. Tannir at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Implementation of immunotherapy

Pritchard became one of the patients in Tannir’s clinical trial of nivolumab. The first signs came within two weeks, when Pritchard stopped suffering from  the cancer’s side effects like pain, night sweats and anemia. Four infusions over eight weeks led to a 50-60 percent reduction in the size of the main tumor.

That was in early 2013. Today, two years later, 50-year-old Pritchard has regained his health to such an extent that Tannir is considering the end of medication.

How do these immunotherapy drugs work?

Cancer cells have an innate ability to avoid the body’s T-cells, which are sent out by the immune system to attack foreign elements. Nivolumab and the other immunotherapy drugs are “checkpoint inhibitors” that remove the “brakes” keeping T-cells from doing their job.

Our Center for Immuno-Oncology creates a personalized therapy protocol using information about your genetics, lifestyle and environment. We work with patients diagnosed with all types and stages of cancer. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs.