Tumor Heterogeneity: Why Some Tumors Metastasize or are Drug Resistant

Each Body Is Unique, and So Is Curing Each Cancerous Tumor.
Each Body Is Unique, and So Is Curing Each Cancerous Tumor.

For decades, scientists have tried to uncover the mysteries behind the complex behaviors of cancer cells. Thanks to gene sequencing and other molecular diagnosis tools, they are beginning to understand the process behind metastasis and drug resistance.

Solving the Puzzles of Metastasis and Drug Resistance

Cancer treatment is sometimes hampered by two significant problems:

Metastasis, or stage IV cancer, occurs when cancer cells migrate from the original site to other parts of the body. Surgery is no longer an option at stage IV, which significantly reduces survival rates.

• Drug resistance sets in when treatment reaches a point where cancer cells are no longer vulnerable to attack and they resume spreading.

Scientists have discovered that cancer cells can vary greatly between the original site and metastatic site, and even within a single tumor. This characteristic is referred to as tumor heterogeneity.

How Does Tumor Heterogeneity Affect Cancer Treatment?

Research has uncovered significant evidence demonstrating that cancer cells continue to evolve.

Gene mutations can create a subset of cancer cells with the ability to break away from the original tumor site.

• Drugs that target specific cancer cells can lose effectiveness as the original mutations are lost.

Doctors are using this knowledge of tumor heterogeneity to prescribe combination therapies that attack multiple genetic and molecular targets.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Combination Therapies

Our individual immunotherapy programs are integrative, combining treatments that work together to form a comprehensive attack on cancer cells. Contact us to learn why Issels® is the right choice for powerful and non-toxic cancer treatment for patients in late and early stages.

What to Know About Sarcomas – Soft Tissue and Bone

Being Aware of the Signs of Cancer Can be an Effective Way to Catch Cancer Before its Too Late.
Being Aware of the Signs of Cancer Can be an Effective Way to Catch Cancer Before its Too Late.

Sarcoma is a relatively rare form of cancer, so it doesn’t have the same public awareness as leukemia, breast cancer or other well-known types. Here’s what you should know about this “forgotten cancer.”

What Is Sarcoma?

Sarcomas can be found anywhere within the body. They fall into two general types: soft tissue sarcoma, which occurs in muscles, blood vessels and connective tissue, and bone sarcoma.

Approximately 15,000 new cases of sarcoma are projected to be diagnosed in the United States during 2017. While the five-year survival rate is around 50 percent, sarcomas are known to frequently recur and metastasize.

5 Important Facts About Sarcoma

• Sarcomas account for only about one percent of adult cancer diagnoses, but they make up roughly 15 percent of cancers diagnosed in youngsters under the age of 20.

• While sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body, 50 to 60 percent of soft tissue sarcomas occur in the arms and legs.

• Most sarcomas arise from unknown causes. Certain genetic conditions or exposure to toxins can increase risk.

• Due to its rareness and lack of symptoms in the early stages, sarcoma is difficult to detect and diagnose.

• Few doctors have much experience with cancer treatment for sarcoma, so it’s essential to follow up a diagnosis with a second opinion from a specialist.

Personalized Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a rare cancer like sarcoma or a more common form such as lung cancer, we will create a specific immunotherapy cancer treatment to address your individual needs. Contact us to learn more about the Issels® difference.

New Biomarker May Predict the Body’s Response to Chemotherapy and Radiation

There is New Hope for Cancer Patients. Don't Give up!
There is New Hope for Cancer Patients. Don’t Give up!

One of the difficulties doctors have in prescribing cancer treatment is knowing which methods will be most effective. That may change with the discovery of a biomarker that may help predict a tumor’s response to chemotherapy and radiation.

How Cell Division Affects Cancer Development

When cells divide, the duplicated chromosomes are pulled apart into the two new cells. A malfunction in this process can lead to chromosomal instability, which has the potential to drive development of cancer cells.

Researchers set out to study the expression of genes associated with normal chromosome division. Specifically, they wanted to find out how genetic changes contribute to chromosomal instability and whether these changes held clues regarding the behavior of tumors.

Genetic Markers of Chromosomal Instability

The team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory examined 31 genes that had previously been identified as part of the chromosome division process. They discovered that these genes were over- or under-expressed in different types of cancer as opposed to corresponding normal tissue samples.

This led to the development of a 14-gene subset named the Centromere and kinetochore gene Expression Score, or CES. When measuring CES in tumor sample databases, the researchers found that a high score correlated with elevated levels of chromosomal instability.

Based on these encouraging results, researchers are hopeful that the biomarker can be used to predict response to cancer treatment as well as prognosis with or without treatment.

Immunotherapy: An Integrative Approach to Cancer Treatment

Immunotherapy at Issels® doesn’t carry the risk of debilitating side effects that accompanies traditional cancer treatments. Contact us for more information.

The First in 10 Years – FDA Approves New Liver Cancer Drug

FDA Approves New Drug! Could This Make Groundbreaking Progress?
FDA Approves New Drug! Could This Make Groundbreaking Progress?

In November 2007, the Food and Drug Administration gave its first-ever approval for a drug designed as liver cancer treatment. Nearly 10 years later, the FDA has given its approval to a second drug for liver cancer that also has applications for some forms of gastrointestinal cancer.

The Search for Effective Liver Cancer Treatment

Sorafenib, brand name Nexavar®, was the original drug approved for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is the most common form of liver cancer. The drug acts as a kinase inhibitor to block enzymes responsible for cell division and reproduction.

According to Dr. Tim Greten of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, since 2007 there have been a number of phase III trials for possible liver cancer treatments. Until now, none of them have been successful.

A 10-Year Breakthrough

Regorafenib, brand name Stivarga®, is also a kinase inhibitor. During a phase III trial, 573 patients whose HCC had not responded to sorafenib were assigned to receive either regorafenib or a placebo.

The patients who received regorafenib experienced an overall three-month increase in survival over the placebo group. Percentage of patients whose tumors had at least partial shrinkage was 11 percent and four percent respectively.

Researchers are also studying the use of other immunotherapy agents against liver cancer. The current focus is on checkpoint inhibitors such as tremelimumab and nivolumab.

Issels®: The Leader in Immunotherapy for All Forms of Cancer

Our individually created immunotherapy programs have helped patients with stage IV HCC and other forms of tumors in all stages. Visit our website to find out why Issels® is ahead of the curve with integrative, non-toxic cancer treatment.

New Blood Test May Identify Early Cases of Pancreatic Cancer

Tests Have Found Blood Can Help Identify Signs of Pancreatic Cancer.
Tests Have Found Blood Can Help Identify Signs of Pancreatic Cancer.

While pancreatic cancer is relatively rare in the United States, it’s one of the more deadly forms of the disease. According to a recently published study, a new blood test may be able to detect pancreatic cancer during its earliest and most treatable stages.

Solving the Puzzle of Early Detection

Experts predict that pancreatic cancer will become the second leading cause of cancer deaths by 2020. The main problem is late detection, with five-year survival rates coming in at less than 10 percent.

Scientists working on methods of early detection ran into a catch-22. Studies to identify potential markers relied on tumor samples from patients who were already in advanced stages of pancreatic cancer.

A Biomarker Breakthrough

The recent study was conducted by a joint University of Pennsylvania/Mayo Clinic team. Senior investigator Dr. Ken Zaret explained that reprogrammed cells were transplanted into mice, where they developed into invasive pancreatic tumors.

Samples from the lesions and tumors were then taken from the mice and used to identify proteins they secreted. Elevated levels of one protein, called THB52, was found to accurately distinguish between the affected and healthy controls, as well as between pancreatic cancer and other forms.

Dr. Zaret and his team are continuing their research with larger samples and more cross-validation. Researchers are hopeful that their work will lead to a viable test for people at high risk for pancreatic cancer.

Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®: Treatment for All Stages

We have used personalized immunotherapy for cancer programs to successfully treat patients with all forms of cancer in early and late stages. Contact us for more information.

Exciting New Treatment Possibilities for Hard to Treat Cancers

Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!
Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!

Cancer cells have the ability to hijack healthy cells, which is one of the reasons tumors are so difficult to treat. A team of British scientists recently found a way to counteract this process, in effect hijacking the hijacking.

How Healthy Cells Aid Tumor Growth

For healthy people, fibroblasts are cells that help to hold different organs together. Cancer cells transform them into cancer associated fibroblasts, or CAFs, that aid in a tumor’s growth and spread.

Higher levels of CAFs are found in many bowel, neck and head cancer cases that have poor survival rates. Despite this knowledge, scientists had been unsuccessful at targeting CAFs.

Halting Pro-Cancer Activities

A team at the University of Southampton identified an enzyme called NOX4 that is essential for CAFs to work with cancer cells. Using a developmental drug that treats organ fibrosis, the team was able to halt pro-tumor actions by CAFs.

When mice were treated with the drug, the size of their tumors was reduced by up to 50 percent. Cancer Research UK is now funding the Southampton team as they explore the use of this approach in immunotherapy for cancer.

Professor Gareth Thomas, lead researcher of the Southampton team, said that targeting CAFs can offer new possibilities for patients whose cancer has been unresponsive to traditional treatments.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: Harnessing the Power of Your Own Immune System

Immunotherapy for cancer programs at Issels® boost the power of your own immune system to target and attack cancer cells. Contact us to learn more about cancer vaccines, NK cells, hyperthermia and other individually tailored immunotherapy treatments.