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Immunotherapy: What It Is and How It Works to Fight Cancer

T Cells
Building Your Immune System

Immunotherapy represents a real breakthrough in cancer treatment. It activates the body’s own immune system so that it can identify and eliminate cancer cells. This approach to stage four cancer treatment has reduced the side effects of treatment and yielded impressive results.

Supercharge your Immune System

The great part about the human body is that is comes fully equipped with a protective system meant to fight outside invaders. The trick is to tap into that power and be able to target tumors and cell mutations. New clinical trials have been successful in achieving those goals. In fact, more and more immunotherapy drugs are being fast-tracked for FDA approval.

Fighting Sneaky Cancer Cells

Typically, the immune system has trouble recognizing cancer cells because they are very similar to normal cells. This allows cancer cells to sneak by the body’s natural defenses and spread. New drugs have been proven to boost the immune system and help it seek out and destroy mutated cells without putting you through radiation and chemotherapy treatments, which can come with a whole host of harmful side effects.

So far, immunotherapy drugs have been used to treat different types of blood and bone cancer, including Leukemia. The results have been so promising, that scientists feel confident that they will be able to tackle a wider range of cancers in the near future.

Issels® doctors’ expertise in integrating personalized vaccines into a comprehensive immunotherapy program has already benefited many patients. They are working hard to also advance new treatment methods. We believe in boosting the immune system and improving overall health and quality life during treatment. A comprehensive and personalized treatment plan is the best approach to beating cancer. Find out how we can help you in your fight against cancer today by asking about our immuno-oncology programs.

Designer Cancer Therapies using Your Body to Fight Cancer

Alternative Lung Cancer Treatment
Fighting Cancer With Your Body

Dealing with the challenges of stage four cancer treatment can feel overwhelming and isolating, but there is good news. Doctors, scientists and researchers are working hard to make advances in cancer prevention and treatment and their efforts are paying off. The latest breakthrough involves creating a personalized vaccine that is designed to target each patient’s cancer.


Research shows that one of the best ways to fight cancer is to harness the power of the body’s own immune system. A personalized vaccine does this by telling your immune system to target a tumor. The result is a more focused treatment that isn’t as hard on the rest of your body as radiation or chemotherapy.

No Two Cancers are Alike

Every cancer patient experiences tumors behave differently. That is why a one-size-fits-all approach to stage four cancer treatment simply won’t be as effective as a more concentrated and personalized effort. Immunotherapy actually identifies the genes that are causing mutations and creates a vaccine that will specifically target those cells. This minimizes side effects and produces better results.

Developing Vaccines

A this stage in the process, scientists are still collecting data and trying to streamline all the various components involved in creating a vaccine. It takes time for them to produce a personalized vaccine. Cutting down on turnaround time could significantly increase the number of patients who are able to benefit from this specialized type of therapy.

Immunotherapy and personalized vaccines are just two components of an individualized treatment plan. At Issels®, we have many years of experience in preparing and administering personalized vaccines and also incorporate new methods as they are available. We take a comprehensive individualized approach to treatment because we know that cancer is a very complex systemic disease and every patient is different. Contact us today to find out more.

New Breast Cancer Gene Plaguing Polish and French Canadians Discovered

Cancer Gene
The Breast Cancer Gene

One of the biggest challenges associated with preventing and curing breast cancer is that there appears to be several genes that are associated with the mutations that cause this cancer. Scientists and researchers have been working to identify all the potential causes and have recently made a real breakthrough. At the University of Toronto, researchers discovered that the gene RECQL is responsible for mutations in both Polish and French Canadian women.

Hereditary Breast Cancer

This research study has been focused on types of breast cancer that are inherited, which represent about 10% of all cases. By looking closely at over 20,000 cases, scientists were able to find a strong pattern of occurrence in these two populations. This information provides valuable insight into the behavior or cancer and the role of genetics. In fact, the study revealed that Polish women with the mutation are five times more likely to get breast cancer and the risk for French Canadian women is multiplied 50 times.

Targeted Treatment

While this information has yet to be used to change treatment methods, it does provide hope for future innovations. Not only can women be tested for the gene, in order to identify the likelihood that they will get breast cancer, but scientists anticipate being able to design targeted treatments around each specific genetic mutation.

This individualized approach to creating a treatment plan falls in line with Issels® philosophy about patient care. Not every woman acquires cancer through the same route, so why would everyone receive the same type of treatment? Continued research on the role of genetics in specific populations of people could lead to more effective treatment methods in the future, so stay tuned.

Not Letting Cancer Get You Down: Living a Dream

Living a Dream
Living a Dream

A cancer diagnosis is a life changing event, but it doesn’t have to mean that you stop living your life and pursuing your dreams. Surrounding yourself with a support system and working with organizations like Issels® can help your quality of life that involves living out your dreams. Actress Rita Wilson, recently proved this point through her own approach to dealing with breast cancer.

Despite being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing a double mastectomy, Wilson continues to work and perform on Broadway. Instead of completely abandoning her role on stage, she simply took a month off to have the surgery and recover. Just four weeks later, she was back starring in “Fish in the Dark.” Performing every night on Broadway can be a grueling challenge even for those in the best of health. After her return, Wilson struggled with energy levels and wasn’t feeling up to 100%, but that did not stop her from continuing her work.

For some people, including Wilson, a cancer diagnosis actually makes them more aware of their bodies. While you may not feel up to par, you can still pursue your dreams and favorite activities as long as you listen to your body and trust your gut. Don’t push your limits too hard and make sure that you are taking steps to improve your nutrition, get enough sleep and reduce stress. All this will help boost your immunity and overall energy levels.

Taking a thoughtful approach to dealing with cancer and handling your health will allow you to continue to live out your dreams. Wilson is just one inspiring example of how life goes on even after a cancer diagnosis.

Battling Cancer with IBM Watson’s Computer and Big Data

Fighting Cancer With Computers
Fighting Cancer With Computers

The IBM Watson computer has offered breakthrough diagnostic services to oncologists looking for better and faster ways to battle cancer.

The problem in the past has been how to handle, disseminate and extrapolate the hundreds of thousands of bits of data associated with different cancers. In its huge data base, Watson has stored all this data as well as having the capacity to store future data as it becomes available. In effect, Watson is a centralized data bank exclusively dedicated to the treatment of cancer.

The introduction of Watson has been embraced by a combination of 14 U.S. and Canadian cancer institutes. The scientists charged with using this valuable information are encouraged by the possibilities, and hopeful they will be able to make a substantial difference in the treatment and care of patient’s battling a diagnosis of cancer.

Watson provides a wealth of information related to the disease that can be filtered, sifted through, and input into other programs. Previously, curating this amount of data research on this level would take doctors weeks to conduct. Now, with the help of International Business Machines Corp.’s Watson computer, the data can be output in minutes.

The outcome remains to be seen, but with this kind of dedicated computing power in the hands of those who are best able to analyze it – oncologists, scientists and cancer caregivers—hope for more personalized treatment and perhaps even an eventual cure, is better than ever before.

Watson made its television debut on the popular quiz show “Jeopardy.” Now it will be charged with a higher purpose, possibly influencing the outcome of the thousands of cancer patients’s prognosis.

Precision Medicine Promises a Better War on Cancer

Precision Cancer Medicine
Precision Cancer Medicine

At Issels® Immuno-Oncology, we believe cancer treatment should be an integrative approach that relies on non-toxic, personalized and precise methods.

What is precision medicine?

Instead of utilizing broad, toxic treatments based mostly on cancer location, we look at the many factors that contribute to the formation and spread of cancer and then tackle the specific causes at the cellular and immune system levels.

On April 26, Dr. Craig Thompson from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center covered the benefits of precision medicine in a piece for The Wall Street Journal titled “The Future of Cancer: Closer to a Cure.”

He noted that cancer growth depends on more than location or even genetic predisposition. Cancer usually forms because the body’s regeneration and immune system response processes fail. Cells mutate for a variety of reasons:

  • Error – Errors can occur naturally as cells grow and tissues regenerate.
  • Age – Cells naturally mutate as we age.
  • Damage – Cellular damage happens from different external sources, such as radiation, environmental pollutants, viruses, bacteria, et cetera.

Cancer forms when a person’s immune system fails to consider these cells a type of threat. With precision medicine, oncologists and immunotherapy specialists use a patient’s immune system to fight off disease with non-toxic methods. They tackle some specific mutations with vaccines and cell therapies that reverse causation to prevent new mutated cellular growth. Additionally, they boost the immune system and push it to continue working and destroy cancer long after it might normally shut down.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment at one of our Issels® Integrative Immuno-Oncology centers, call 888-447-7357 (United States and Canada) or 001-888-447-7357 (Abroad) or use our convenient online form.