Tag Archives: Center for Immuno-Oncology

What’s Happening in Immunotherapy Research – Part Two

Advances in Cancer Therapies
Advances in Cancer Therapies

There’s so much exciting news in research involving immunotherapy for cancer that we couldn’t cover it all in one post! Here’s a continuation of our look at new and improved ways scientists are finding to fight cancer.

Cancer Vaccines

Vaccines have long been a promising form of treatment for cancer. One roadblock limiting progress is the ability of cancer cells to fly under the radar of the immune system.

Armed with a growing body of knowledge gained through years of research, scientists are finding methods to boost the effectiveness of vaccines. For example, vaccines are sometimes given in tandem with substances called adjuvants that make the immune response more efficient.

Checkpoint Inhibitors

You may have seen advertisements for products such as nivolumab, which is referred to as an immune checkpoint inhibitor. Cancer cells often elude the immune system by “hiding” behind checkpoint proteins that prevent immune responses against normal cells. Inhibitors target the checkpoints, freeing the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Oncolytic Viruses

Viruses are normally something to avoid, but researchers have found ways to harness their ability to infect and kill cells. Specific modifications alter certain viruses, creating oncolytic viruses that direct their attacks toward cancer cells, while also alerting the immune system to take action.

Is Immunotherapy for Cancer the Answer for You?

For years, Issels® has been a leader in immunotherapy treatments such as cancer vaccines and gene-targeted therapies. Contact us for more information about our non-toxic immunotherapy programs and how they are individually tailored to meet your specific needs.

What’s Happening in Immunotherapy Research – Part One

What's New in Immunotherapy
What’s New in Immunotherapy

As immunotherapy for cancer continues to gain traction in the medical community, researchers around the globe are directing their efforts toward finding new treatment methods and improving existing ones. Here’s a look at some of the exciting developments in immunotherapy treatments that are making news today.

Refining Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, are proteins that take advantage of the difference between cancer cells and normal cells. Scientists are exploring ways to make mAbs even more powerful, such as attaching them to drugs or other substances, while making them less likely to trigger an immune response. They are also working on combining mAbs for a more focused attack on tumors.

CAR T-Cells

T-cells, which are part of the immune system, have long been a major subject of immunotherapy research. Recent trials involve removing T-cells from a patient, genetically adding CARs (chimeric antigen receptors), then returning them to the patient’s blood, where they can more precisely target cancer cells. This method has shown particularly promising results in cases featuring advanced forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes

Another approach using T-cells centers on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) found deep within tumors. The TILs are removed from tumor samples and treated with interleukin-2 so they multiply rapidly. Once injected back into the patient, the TILs are better equipped to fight cancer cells.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Immunotherapy Treatments

In our next post, we’ll continue our look at the latest updates on research centering on immunotherapy for cancer. Contact us to learn more about how Issels® has been a leader in personalized, non-toxic immunotherapy protocols.

July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, Will You Be Wearing the Yellow Ribbon?

New Immunotherapy Drug Can Help Fight Bladder Cancer
New Immunotherapy Drug Can Help Fight Bladder Cancer

If you or someone you love has received a diagnosis of bladder cancer or is in stage four and have exhausted treatment options, NBC news reports that there may be new hope for immunotherapy treatment for bladder cancer. This information is timely as July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month.

Immunotherapy treatments

Immunotherapy for bladder cancer works by treating a person’s immune system so it has the ability to fight cancer.

According to the NBC news article, “more successful approaches, involve training immune cells to recognize a patient’s specific tumors, or finding and amplifying a patient’s own tumor-specific immune cells.” Immunotherapy now appears to be the best course of cancer treatment for many patients.

New drug, new hope

Hope now lies in a drug newly-approved by the FDA called atezolizumab (brand name Tecentriq) that boosts the immune system to slow the spread of tumors in patients in the advanced stages of bladder cancer. It’s the latest development in immunotherapy for bladder cancer treatments and it has shown promising results.

In a study of 119 patients who received the drug as treatment revealed that growth stopped in the tumors in 24% of those patients in the advanced stages of bladder cancer. The drug also shrank the tumors by 30%. According to the research team, 21 of the original patients from 2014 who received the immunotherapy for bladder cancer are still in remission today.

Learn more about our non-toxic immunotherapy for bladder cancer by contacting Issels® Integrative Immuno-Oncology.

Non-Toxic Agent Makes Cancer Cells Glow

Thermal Treatment
Making the Cancer Glow

When you’re looking for small objects in a dark, confined area, your first step is turning on a light. Recent cancer research has uncovered a non-toxic chemical compound with the ability to “turn on the light” that reveals cancer cells.

Breakthrough testing

The study, conducted at Oregon State University, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists last October. Researchers injected a substance called silicon napthalocyanine into mice suffering from ovarian tumors. After 24 hours, the chemical had been absorbed by the tumors but was not present in the rest of the body.

Tumors were completely eradicated, and researchers detected no side effects. They are optimistic about the compound working on other types of tumors as well.

“Glow in the dark” cancer cells

Once the compound has been absorbed by a tumor, it causes cancer cells to glow when illuminated with near-infrared light. The effect makes it easier for surgeons to find and remove the cells more effectively, while a chemical reaction combining heat and oxygen kills any remaining cells.

Olena Taratula, lead author of the OSU study, explained that the research demonstrates proof of concept they hope to expand on with further experiments. Next on the researchers’ agenda is developing a system whereby the compound would actually seek out cancer cells. The next round of testing would involve dogs, possibly followed by clinical trials on humans.

Our experienced staff of medical professionals actively works to remain up-to-date on the latest and most innovative cancer research. Contact us to learn why Issels® is a leader in non-toxic integrative immuno-oncology treatments.

Cancer Patient Tip: Focus on Improving Your Quality of Life

Four hands of the family,  a baby, a daughter,  a mother and a father. Concept of unity, support, protection and happiness.
Use Your Support Network to Care for Yourself

When you’re fighting cancer, your physical well-being can consume your focus to the exclusion of your emotional self. Improving your quality of life helps you maintain a positive frame of mind that can have a beneficial effect on your overall health. Use these tips to nurture yourself and enrich your spirit. 

Ask for support 

Despite what you may have seen in movies or read in novels, suffering in silence is not a noble attitude. Your loved ones want to help, but may not know how. Sharing your specific needs with them is a relief, not a burden.

Retain control wherever possible

Cancer creates a sense of helplessness, making you feel as though you’re at the mercy of this foreign being. Work with your doctor and caregiver to develop lifestyle modifications allowing you to maintain as much control as you are comfortable with. 

Talk to others who have been there

Even if you have a caring network of friends and family, cancer can make you feel isolated and “different.” Join support groups where you can share your deepest thoughts without fear of judgment and benefit from the wisdom of those who have shared your experience.  

Learn to relax

The idea of learning to relax may seem strange, but the stress of living with cancer can make you forget where your “off switch” is. Music, reading, meditation and light physical activity are just some of the methods you can use to decompress.

Our non-toxic immuno-oncology therapies work with your body’s own immune system, reducing side effects that can be physically and emotionally draining. Contact us to learn more about our personalized treatments.


Does the High Cost of Immunotherapy Mean You Won’t Get Treatment?

nurse feeds data of test tubes with blood for analysis into the database
Issels has options for immunotherapy treatment of cancer.

Immunotherapy for cancer that costs more than $1 million per patient per year? Issels® knows how frustrating coming to terms with the affordability of cancer treatment can be, and you’re not the only one taking notice. At the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2015 meeting, Dr. Leonard Saltz, MD of NYC’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center brought the stark reality of this issue to light.

Among the concerns addressed by Dr. Saltz was the need to establish cost controls for treatment, as there is an upper limit to how much society can afford to pay. Prices are not being based on the value of drugs, but what (the seller believes) the market will bear.

The trickle-down…
This year, the cost of a family insurance plan plus out-of-pocket expenses equates to approximately 50% the average U.S. household income. Continue this trend, and by 2028 it will be 100%.

How bad is it?
Saltz identified multiple therapies whose prices were in excess, limiting accessibility. The latest: pembrolizumab (Keytruda):

  • 2mg/kg (2014 standard dose) – $14,500 per month.
  • 10mg/kg (2015 proposed clinical trial dose) – $83,000 per month.

The astronomical out-of-pocket?
Saltz calculated for the average, 165 pound American patient, the drug would cost $1,009,944 per year for 26 doses. With a 20% Medicare copay, that’s a whopping $201,988 out-of-pocket for a single year of treatment! This stark reality is hoped to lead to a drastic changes in melanoma treatment, as many patients cannot afford medical insurance, least of all these copays and therapies.

Has playing the lotto become your backup plan for affording cancer treatment? Don’t give up hope. Contact Issels® and discover an array of cutting-edge immunotherapy  options today!