Study Finds that Older Lung Cancer Patients May Still Benefit from Surgery

Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer in both men and women, and nearly all the patients are over the age of 45. Despite the fact that the average age of diagnosis is 70, cancer surgery is proving to be a viable treatment option that can extend the lives of these patients.

Is Surgery Appropriate for Older Patients?

The general opinion, even among healthcare professionals, is that surgery is too hard on the aging bodies of older patients to be considered as a solution for lung cancer. Treatment then focuses on controlling the symptoms rather than attempting curative solutions.

Evaluating Surgical Treatment for Lung Cancer

In October 2016 the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study headed up by Dr. Prasad Adusumilli, a thoracic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Participants included more than 2,000 patients diagnosed with Stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer. Approximately 70 percent of the subjects were 65 or older.

After these patients had surgery to remove the tumors, the group experienced a remarkable track record of success. The first year follow-up showed that patient deaths to that point were most often due to causes other than lung cancer. Even more encouraging news was that after five years nearly 90 percent of the patients were alive and cancer-free.

Instead of Surgery Consider Immunotherapy for Cancer

At Issels®, our personally tailored immunotherapy for cancer treatments are designed to boost your body’s natural defenses against the disease. Contact us to learn more about state-of-the-art non-surgical programs such as cancer vaccines and cell therapies prepared from your own immune cells.

Big Pharma’s Specialized T Cell Treatment May Be Too Toxic for Some Patients

Using the Body to Fight Cancer
T Cell Engineering

CAR-T is a remarkable new immunotherapy for cancer treatment that has been described as “heroic medicine” for patients who have exhausted all other resources. As Big Pharma begins taking steps toward bringing CAR-T to the market, certain toxic side effects have given some investors pause.

Pros and Cons of CAR-T

Your immune system includes T cells, which are a subtype of white blood cells. CAR-T involves harvesting a patient’s T cells, engineering them to recognize cancer then returning them to the patient’s system where they are now better equipped to fight cancer cells.

So far CAR-T has had particular success against leukemia and lymphoma, with one study resulting in leukemia completely disappearing from 90 percent of the participants. The bad news is that some test subjects have developed serious side effects such as cytokine release syndrome, which can result in organ failure.

The Search for a Safer Treatment

While experts believe the dramatically positive results greatly outweigh the potentially negative ones, researchers are at work exploring ways to make CAR-T safer for cancer patients. One promising approach is standardization of T cell doses by maintaining specific proportions.

Some researchers use a so-called “suicide switch,” which is a drug that causes T cells to self-destruct in the presence of high toxicity levels. Doses of the activation drug can be adjusted so it reduces toxic effects but leaves some T cells intact.

The Non-Toxic Alternative: State-of-the-Art Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®

While immunotherapy is a hot buzzword in the medical community, Issels® has been a leader in the field for decades. Contact us to learn more about the success of our personally-tailored non-toxic immunotherapy for cancer treatment programs.

Cancer May Be Carried in Your DNA – Should Testing Be Offered?

Cancer Can Be Caused at The DNA Level

Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and poor diet, can affect your chances of developing cancer, but some people carry a high risk for the disease

in their DNA. The medical community is currently debating whether widespread genetic testing will do more harm than good.

Would Lower-Cost Tests Mean Greater Accessibility?

BRCA-related cancers occur when the genes that produce tumor-preventing proteins mutate to the point where they lose that ability. These genetic changes result in higher risk of breast, prostate, ovarian and pancreatic cancers as well as melanoma.

Testing can normally run into thousands of dollars, making it generally available only via insurance coverage to individuals with a strong family history of cancer. But biotech companies have come up with viable tests that cost less than $500.

When Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Experts such as Mary-Claire King, the award-winning geneticist who originally identified the BRCA1 gene, think that the new testing methods should be considered routine like Pap smears and mammograms. Others are not convinced.

Why is caution needed with the new genetic testing?

• Genetics is not a cut-and-dried specialty, and not all variations can be interpreted correctly.

• Some companies sell these tests directly to consumers without clear information about limitations and risks.

At this point, knowing your family history is still the best indicator of a possible genetic link to cancer.

Genomic Testing and Immunotherapy for Cancer

At Issels®, our immunotherapy for cancer treatments are personally developed to allow for individual factors such as genetic predisposition and lifestyle. Visit our website to learn more about our state-of-the-art protocols such as cancer vaccines and NK cells.

Higher Vitamin D Levels May Boost Breast Cancer Survival

Higher Vitamin D Levels May Boost Breast Cancer Survival
Higher Vitamin D Levels May Boost Breast Cancer Survival

Vitamin D has long been known as an essential nutrient that aids your bones with calcium absorption. A recent study shows that there may also be a link between vitamin D levels and surviving breast cancer.

Examining the Link between Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Survival

The study, performed by a research team from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, began in 2006 with a group of women from California who had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Participants were divided into three sub-groups based on blood levels of a particular vitamin D marker.

Women with more advanced cancers tended to have low levels of the marker. Over an average of seven years of follow-up, 100 of these women died compared to 76 women with high levels. There were approximately 1,600 women total involved in the study.

In addition, women with the highest vitamin D levels were 28 percent less likely to die of any cause, once factors such as tumor characteristics were accounted for. This link was the strongest among pre-menopausal women.

What Does This Mean for the Future?

According to lead author Song Yao, overall results showed “30 percent reduction of all-cause mortality” linked to vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis. While the study supports previous research linking vitamin D with breast cancer survival, Yao said a randomized controlled trial would be needed to determine a direct cause-and-effect.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: Going Beyond Traditional Treatments

Immunotherapy for cancer has been gaining a lot of attention recently, but at Issels® we have a decades-long history of using these state-of-the-art methods successfully. Contact us for more information.

Rare Cancers Still Plague Vietnam Veterans

Get The Treatment You Need
Get The Treatment You Need

More than 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the conflict continues to have both physical and emotional effects on those who served. Several vets are fighting a rare form of cancer that stems from food they ingested overseas.

When Food Becomes Deadly

Residents of Vietnam and other parts of Asia have long known about the dangers of eating raw or poorly cooked river fish. It often holds parasites known as liver flukes that latch onto the lining of the bile duct, causing inflammation and scarring over time.

Decades later, the afflicted patient can develop a rare cancer called cholangiocarcinoma. Sadly, the symptoms usually don’t present themselves until the later stages after the tumor has advanced.

Vietnam Vets Struggle for Assistance

According to Ralph Erickson, head of post-deployment health services for the Department of Veteran Affairs, roughly 700 cholangiocarcinoma patients have gone through the agency’s medical system. However, less than half of them submitted claims because it never occurred to them that the cancer was linked to their military service.

Michael Baughman, a 64-year-old veteran from Danville, VA, is one of the patients who was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. He acknowledged the bitter irony that he survived combat but is likely to die due to eating a fish.

Immunotherapy for Cancer Offers Hope to Many Patients

Today immunotherapy for cancer is regarded as the most advanced of current treatments. Our individually tailored non-toxic protocols may be used alone or in conjunction with more traditional methods. Contact us to learn why Issels® is the leader in state-of-the-art immunotherapy for cancer.

Tobacco Use Still Dominates as a Cause of Cancer

image of used cigarettes in sand.
Tobaccos Link to Cancer

Thanks to wide-spread education about the dangers of tobacco use, smoking is at an all-time low in the United States. Despite this, tobacco is still linked to 40 percent of all cancer diagnoses, and these cases are not limited to just lung cancer.

Tobacco Use Continues to Be a High Risk Factor for Cancer

Disturbing information was reported in a recent article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, stated that nearly half of the country’s 36 million smokers could die from tobacco-related diseases.

Of those 18 million potential fatalities, one-third is projected to come from cancer. Smoking is generally connected with lung cancer, but tobacco use is also tied to cancer in the throat, liver, pancreas, stomach, and eight other parts of the body.

Good News about Tobacco Use

A separate report issued by the CDC detailed the progress that’s been made in reducing cigarette smoking. In the 10-year period between 2005 and 2015, smoking among adults dropped from 45.1 million to 36.5 million for a change of more than five percentage points.

Reduction in tobacco use has not occurred across the board. Males, especially African-Americans, still account for a high proportion of smokers, while groups such as the low-income and less-educated have the highest smoking rates.

Cancer Treatment Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

Each cancer diagnosis arises from a unique combination of factors that can include lifestyle choices, such as smoking along with heredity and environment. Our immunotherapy for cancer treatments are designed to meet the specific needs of your case. Contact us to learn why Issels® is the leader in state-of-the-art immunotherapy for cancer.