Category Archives: Immunotherapy for Cancer

What to Look for If You Think Your or a Loved One Has Cancer

Early detection can be a huge advantage for successful cancer treatment. Do you think you or a loved one may be suffering from cancer? Here are some of the primary signs and symptoms to watch for.

Difference Between Signs and Symptoms

While they may seem like the same thing, there is an important difference between signs and symptoms.

*Signs are measurable conditions, such as a fever, that can be observed by another person.

*Symptoms are detectable only by the person who is actually experiencing them. Pain and fatigue fall into this category.

Keep in mind that many signs and symptoms may be temporary and caused by something other than cancer. Be sure to consult a doctor if these conditions become exacerbated or don’t go away over time.

Possible Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

*Fatigue or tiredness that is not relieved by rest

*Significant weight loss or gain (10+ pounds) with no apparent cause

*Eating and digestive problems, including lack of appetite, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting or constipation, diarrhea or other changes in bowel habits

*Swelling, thickening or lumps in the breast or any part of the body

*Sudden unexplained pain that becomes more serious or continues to linger

*Changes in skin features, such as a new mole or altered appearance in an existing one, a sore that refuses to heal or a yellowish color in skin or eyes

*Chronic coughing and hoarseness

*Bleeding or bruising that appears suddenly without reason

*Pain or blood in the urine, or increase or decrease in frequency of urination

*Fever or night sweats

*Headaches

*Vision or hearing problems

Issels®: The Leader in Personalized Cancer Treatment

With our state-of-the-art immunotherapy cancer treatment, even many patients with advanced cancer have achieved long-term remission. Contact us to see how Issels® can help you or your loved one.

Should Genetic Testing For Cancer Be Expanded?

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.

Researchers Learn How to Make Large Quantities of Immune Cells for Cancer Vaccines

Immunotherapy for cancer is all about boosting a patient’s natural defense systems. Thanks to a breakthrough by researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC, scientists are now able to generate certain immune cells outside the body.

The Role of Dendritic Cells

Dendritic cells serve as an early warning system for the immune system. These cells give the signal to “arm” the system with disease-specific weapons. A major plus is that dendritic cells can attack all forms of cancer while causing few side effects.

Unfortunately, the down side is that dendritic cells are normally in short supply. Extracting them from patients to use in immunotherapy for cancer proves to be a difficult, time-consuming and expensive process.

Dendritic Cells and Immunotherapy

The research team at Mount Sinai discovered a way to grow human dendritic cells in vitro. According to Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, Director of Immunotherapy at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, the ability to generate these cells on a large scale opens the door for extensive studies of potential applications in highly refined cancer vaccines.

In another promising development, the study also provided insight into notch signaling. This biological pathway plays a major role in generating cDC1, which is the optimum dendritic cell for cancer vaccines. The team discovered that some current treatments disrupt notch signaling, which interferes with the immune system’s efficiency in fighting tumors.

Benefits of this study are twofold. In addition to applications for cancer treatments, the information may help prevent organ transplant rejection, which is another function of the immune system.

Longtime Leaders in Immunotherapy for Cancer

Issels® has long been in the forefront with dendritic cell therapy. Our non-toxic treatments are created to meet each patient’s individual needs. Contact us for more information.

Cancer Risks with Alcohol Use

Doctors have long cautioned against poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, that increase the risk of cancer. In a study that may hold implications related to immunotherapy for cancer, scientists have discovered how alcohol use causes DNA damage in cells.

Harmful Effects of Alcohol on DNA

Cancer Research UK partially funded a study conducted by a research team at Cambridge. After mice were given diluted alcohol, also known as ethanol, they experienced genetic damage as a result of acetaldehyde that forms when the body processes alcohol.

Using chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing, the researchers found that acetaldehyde causes DNA within blood stem cells to break. Once the chromosomes rearrange, the DNA sequences are permanently changed.

According to Professor Ketan Patel, lead author of the study, DNA-damaged stem cells can lead to the development of cancer. This damage is sometimes random, but consumption of alcohol increases the risk.

Can Alcohol-Related DNA Damage Be Prevented?

The body uses enzymes called ALDH as well as DNA repair systems to protect against alcohol-related damage. In the study, mice who lacked essential ALDH suffered four times the amount of DNA damage as mice with the enzyme, indicating that faulty defense mechanisms increase the risk.

Professor Patel warned that even intact alcohol defenses are no guarantee against developing cancer. In addition, Professor Linda Bauld of Cancer Research UK pointed out that alcohol contributes to more than 12,000 cancer cases in the UK each year.

Non-Toxic Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®

Our integrative programs are individually created to include gene-targeted therapies and other treatments that address a patient’s specific needs. Contact us for more information.

New Urine Test May Allow Dismissal of Prostate Biopsy

Urine samples can be used to detect a wide range of conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy and drug abuse. Researchers are now working on developing a urine “sniff test” that can help reduce the number of unnecessary prostate cancer biopsies.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Among men in the United States, cases of prostate cancer are second only to skin cancer. Approximately one in seven men will require cancer treatment for the disease at some point in their lifetime.

One of the signs of prostate cancer is an elevated blood level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Unfortunately, unrelated conditions can also cause high PSA levels, so a biopsy is necessary for a specific diagnosis.

The Nose Knows

A study showed that dogs could smell the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the urine of men with prostate cancer at 98 percent accuracy, prompting a team at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to investigate further.

After collecting urine samples from 100 men undergoing prostate biopsies and neutralizing the pH to prevent degradation, the team discovered that a particular set of VOCs was present in 90 percent of the men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer but absent in the men who were cancer-free.

The researchers plan to validate their findings with a large-scale study and comparison to the results with dogs. If all goes well, they project that a version of the sniff test will be available for clinical use within a few years.

Personalized Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our individually developed immunotherapy programs are based on special testing to identify your particular needs. Contact us for more information.

Living with Cancer May be a New Normal

Not so long ago, a diagnosis of cancer was the worst news a patient could hear. Flash forward to today when, thanks to remarkable improvements in cancer treatment, patients are learning to live with the disease as their “new normal.”

Liz Burke: One Woman’s Story

In TheJournal.ie, an Irish news website, a woman named Liz Burke shared her experiences in honor of Daffodil Day, a fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society. Liz was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.

After a lumpectomy, Liz underwent a course of chemotherapy followed by another of radiotherapy. She demonstrated her sense of humor by relating a story about purchasing a wig to cover her baldness and finding it one day in the mouth of her Jack Russell terrier.

Two years later, Liz’s doctor discovered that breast cancer cells had metastasized to her liver. This triggered another nine months of chemotherapy followed by two years of maintenance, but the good news is that the tumors became inactive.

Finally, one more blow. After five years, the breast cancer metastasized again, this time resulting in a brain tumor. Liz had surgery to remove the tumor and radiotherapy treatment afterwards.

“People Survive Cancer”

These days Liz follows a regular schedule of MRIs, CT scans and weekly infusions. Her message? “People can live quite happily alongside cancer.” Liz believes we’re lucky to live in a time when so much progress is being made with new and effective cancer treatment.

Issels®: There IS Life After Cancer

Many of our patients at Issels® have similar stories of hope and recovery. Visit our website to read and hear their testimonials.