Researchers in the United Kingdom recently made an exciting breakthrough in breast cancer immunotherapy treatment. Ironically, the discovery they made was neither sought after nor expected.
An accidental miracle?
A group of surgeons at the University of Manchester set out to test the use of a two-drug combo on tumors between the times of diagnosis and surgical excision. The drugs in question, traztusumab (Herceptin) and lapatinib (Tyverb) had previously been used individually in treatment.
While the intent was to study the effects of the drugs on tumor biology, the surgeons were stunned at the dramatic but unanticipated results. After only 11 days, 87 percent of the 257 participants experienced a significant reduction in cancer cells, while 11 percent showed no cancer cells at all.
Implications for future breast cancer treatments
Each of the women participating in the study had a form of breast cancer known as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, also referred to as HER2 positive breast cancer. Herceptin works by blocking growth signals to HER2 receptors on the surface of the cancer cells, while Tyverb does the same from within the cells.
According to lead researcher Nigel Bundred, the results are a promising sign for tailoring individual treatments with breast cancer patients. The team is “cautiously optimistic” about indications that taking the drugs immediately after diagnosis may eliminate the need for chemotherapy.
At our Issels® center, we consider factors such as lifestyle and environment to create personalized breast cancer immunotherapy treatment. Visit our website to learn more about our cancer vaccines, cell therapies and other non-toxic immuno-oncology protocols.
You may sometimes hear immunotherapy for cancer referred to as biological therapy, or biotherapy for short. The prefix “bio” relates to living organisms, as opposed to “chemo,” which indicates chemicals. Biotherapy makes use of natural, living substances that assist your body’s own immune system in fighting cancer.
Biotherapy vs. chemotherapy
Traditional chemotherapy uses drugs to directly attack cancer cells. The main drawback is that chemo drugs can’t differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells. As a result, damage to normal cells can result in nausea, fatigue, hair loss and other side effects associated with this type of treatment.
While your immune system does a good job at fighting bacteria and other foreign bodies, it has a hard time identifying and eliminating cancer cells. Biotherapy uses protocols developed from elements of the immune system, such as T-cells, cytokines and NK or natural killer cells, to harness and increase its cancer-fighting power.
How biotherapy affects the immune system
Biotherapy treatments can aid your immune system either directly or indirectly.
Direct assistance boosts the immune system’s ability to fight cancer cells by enhancing its power or making diseased cells easier to recognize.
Indirect assistance results from stopping or suppressing the process whereby healthy cells are transformed into cancer cells, as well as preventing cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.
Issels® is in the forefront of biotherapy cancer treatments
Personalized immunotherapy for cancer used at our Issels® center is based on special testing methods to determine each patient’s specific needs. Visit our website for more information about our individualized non-toxic therapies.
We tend to think of National Cancer Survivor Day as a day that’s set aside to honor all of those who have beaten this dreadful disease. However, here at Issels® we feel that it’s also important to remember the unsung heroes. These are the people who have worked hard by their loved ones’ sides to ensure that they receive the best possible care during their treatments.
National Cancer Survivor Day is June 5. On this day, we want to remember everyone who has fought, or who is still fighting cancer and celebrate them and their journey.
The Effects of Cancer
Unless you’ve been through it, it’s hard to completely understand the effects of cancer. Many patients live their lives in a constant state of fear from one treatment to another, and the side effects that are usually experienced after their treatments can have life-long impact. Their caregivers struggle with knowing if they’re making good decisions, and whether or not their friends and family members are comfortable and pain-free.
Providing Support to Patients and Caregivers
If you know a cancer patient or a cancer caregiver, there are many ways you can honor them; not just on National Cancer Survivor Day, June 5, but all year long. Providing a listening ear helps more than you know, and offering to do tasks such as running errands, cleaning the house, and paying bills is very much appreciated. Cancer patients and their caregivers need to know that they are supported and loved, and you can play a major role in making sure that happens.
This year, on National Cancer Survivor Day, June 5, wear your purple ribbon and show your support!