Some cancer researchers are calling immuno-oncology the cure for cancer we’ve all been waiting for. While it seems too early to say we’ve won the war against cancer, what western medicine is calling immuno-oncology and Issels Integrative Oncology Centers call integrative immunotherapy, is clearly a giant step in the right direction. Even conservative members of the cancer community consider advanced immunotherapy to be “the most exciting development in cancer care” and have been impressed with clinical reports of “dramatically extended survival,” according to Canada’s National Post.
How Immunotherapy Fights Cancer
One of many problems with traditional cancer treatments — surgery, chemotherapy, radiation – is that they tear down the body, destroying healthy cells along with cancerous ones. Immunotherapy takes a completely different approach. By tapping into the power of your body’s immune system, immunotherapy works with your body, strengthening your body’s natural defenses and helping immune cells to identify, seek out and destroy cancer cells.
Cancer cells have a frustrating ability to disguise themselves and hide from immune cells. New targeted therapies use T-cells and Natural Killer Cells to unmask tumor cells and strengthen your immune system’s ability to ferret out and destroy cancer cells. Yale University immunologist David Hafler called the results of such treatments “mind-blowing.”
The use of autohemotherapy has also produced some amazing results in a number of patients battling late-stage cancers. Some patients who were told they only had weeks to live have found new hope as their tumors disappeared after immunotherapy treatment.
Noted Chicago film critic Roger Ebert lost his battle with cancer yesterday after a long and public fight. For years, Ebert and fellow film critic Gene Siskel shared their passion for movies on PBS’ Sneak Preview, achieving cult status with their thumbs-up/thumbs-down review style. Ebert suffered from metastasized thyroid cancer that stole his voice but not his passion for film or life. Only two days before his death, Roger blogged about the return of his cancer, vowing to continue writing.
Ebert’s fight illustrates one of the most frustrating aspects of searching for a cancer cure. It takes time to develop and approve new cancer treatments, time that cancer patients simply do not have. A new collaborative approach to fighting cancer pioneered by the celebrity-driven Stand Up 2 Cancer is changing the cancer research paradigm. (Click here to read Time magazine’s interesting article The Conspiracy to End Cancer.)
By creating and heavily funding collaborative dream teams that bring together top experts in cancer research, genetics, medical technology, oncology and pharmaceuticals, Stand Up 2 Cancer is encouraging an integrative approach to cancer research and treatment that may fast-forward the development of a cancer cure. Already partnerships between cancer researchers and Big Pharma have significantly shortened the time it takes to turn new research discoveries into drug treatments ready for clinical trail.
The provocative headline — How to Cure Cancer — on the cover of Time magazine’s April 1, 2013 issue was as intriguing as reporter Bill Saporito’s featured article, The Conspiracy to End Cancer. Saporito chronicles the radical multi-discipline, multi-institution approach to cancer research and cancer treatment development that is being spearheaded by Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), a celebrity-funded cancer foundation that is funneling millions of dollars into a new style of cancer research that is not only changing our approach to this multi-faceted family of diseases but could significantly fast-forward efforts to develop a cure for cancer.
The cost of cancer is staggering. Despite progress in cancer prevention, detection and treatment, more than half a million Americans die from cancer every year, according to the National Cancer Institute; and another 1.7 million new cancer cases are diagnosed. Annual medical costs alone top $77 billion, and the cost of lost productivity by patients and family caregivers is more than $124 billion.
Part of the problem with treating cancer is that cancer is not a single disease, but many, possibly hundreds of different diseases. Adding to the complexity is the fact that cancer has no single pattern of attack or behavior, but many. While there are commonalities, there can also be vast differences in the way cancer and cancer treatments affect different individuals. The typically fragmented approach to medical research in which individuals and small teams working independently attack small pieces of the cancer puzzle and then jealously guard their discoveries has not proven effective against the breadth and scope of cancer. Stand Up to Cancer is changing the cancer research paradigm.