Some non-specific therapies are administered on their own, while others are used as adjutants, which means they are used to supplement a main treatment such as a cancer vaccine. A few therapies are used in both ways, depending on the form of cancer being treated.
Cytokines are chemicals produced by certain immune cells that play an important role in the growth and activity of other immune cells. They are divided into interleukins, which speed up growth and division of immune cells, and interferons, which aid the body in resisting cancer as well as viral infections.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors help the immune system identify cancer cells that use certain proteins to evade detection.
Immunomodulating drugs (IMiDs) such as thalidomide, lenalidomide and pomalidomide appear to give a general boost to the immune system, although at present it’s not known exactly how they work.
Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is a germ that triggers the immune system by infecting tissue, although it doesn’t present a threat of serious disease. BCG is one of the earliest forms of immunotherapy for cancer.
Issels® Uses Both Targeted and Non-Specific Immunotherapy
As a leader in the field of immunotherapy for cancer, Issels® uses advanced methods such as vaccines and LAK cells in our individually tailored treatment protocols. Contact us to learn more about how immunotherapy may be the answer for you.
Not all cancers behave the same way or produce identical markers. Some people with the same type of cancer will have higher levels of tumor markers while others with that cancer will not have the elevated levels. At the Issels® Immuno-Oncology Centers, we understand that highly personalized immunotherapy is often the best approach to achieve long-term remission.
What are tumor markers?
These markers are substances that are produced by the actual cancer itself or other healthy cells in the body when cancer is present. They may also occur in response to some noncancerous conditions. For example, a benign tumor may result in tumor markers.
While the most commonly recognized markers are proteins found in the stool, urine, blood, or other tissue sample from the person, changes to DNA and altered gene expression are starting to be used as tumor markers. Currently, there are over 20 unique tumor markers identified and used for the detection, research and treatment of cancer.
Why they are important?
In addition to helping doctors assess the effectiveness of treatment, tumor markers are measured after treatment has ceased to see if the cancer has returned. Tumor markers may one day be useful in detecting cancer while it is still in its early stages. Because there is not one “universal” tumor marker, they sometimes occur in noncancerous conditions, and may vary based on individual factors.
A promising new study, published August 2015 in the scientific journal, Cell, establishes a possible link between malaria carrying parasites and the development of blood cancer.
A Surprising Link Found
In the study, a group of scientists used mice to demonstrate how malaria-carrying parasites, such as mosquitos, may lead to blood cancer. Although at present there is nothing to show that the same response may occur in humans, the results are promising as far as determining a surprising cause and effect between seemingly unrelated events that have confounded doctors for more than 50 years.
Prolonged Exposure is a Contributing Factor
Over a prolonged period of time, when a specific immune cell named B lymphocyte is exposed to the malaria infection, it develops cancer-causing faults within its make up. Ultimately, a certain blood cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma presents.
P53 Plays a Key Part
Interestingly, the absence of a protein called P53 plays a key role in whether the immune cells mutate into cancer cells. The mice used in the aforementioned study were selected specifically because of the absence of the P53 gene.
More Research is Needed
More research is necessary before conclusive evidence will emerge regarding the relationship between prolonged exposure to malaria and Burkitt’s lymphoma in humans. However, the clues uncovered in this study represent a giant step toward a cure for this devastating disease.
As more information becomes available to the scientific community regarding Burkitt’s lymphoma causes and cures, you can rely on Issels® to bring it to you in an easy to understand, comprehensive fashion. Contact us today to learn more about our integrative immunotherapy services and treatments.
Issels® Center for Immuno-Oncology provides state-of-the-art techniques to support and encourage a patient’s immune system to defend against cancer cells. Often times, even though treatment is progressing, cancer patients may experience a feeling of sadness.
The question is if the patient is having random moments of sadness or is clinically depressed. Knowing the difference is important.
Random Moments of Sadness
When you’re feeling sad, it can be for any number of reasons from worry about a health condition to stress of paying medical bills. Being sad doesn’t encompass your feelings for the majority of the time. You’re sad; you work through the issue, find a resolution, talk with friends or family, and continue your normal daily routine. Depression is the exact opposite and a much more serious condition.
Studies show that between 15-25 percent of the people who’ve been diagnosed as having cancer are candidates for depression. Some of the signs of depression may seem like sadness but there are differences.
Depression is long-term unhappiness
Experience excessive tiredness
Lack of interest in hobbies and activities
Eating routine changes
Restless and nervous feelings
An obvious change in sleeping habits
Lack of concentration
Significant change in mental and physical reactions
Feeling as if you no longer matter
Continued thoughts of the possibility of death
Thoughts of suicide
Anti-depressants, exercise, counseling, established routines, and psychotherapy are all ways to deal with depression. If you suffer from any of the listed symptoms, contact your physician to determine a plan of action.
If you need information about the services available at Issels® Center for Immuno-Oncology, contact us by phone or use the online form to submit your request.
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.
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!
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!