Tag Archives: Immune Therapies

UCLA Research Shows Chimeric Antigen Receptors May Boost Immune System Response to Fight Cancer

UCLA Research Shows Chimeric Antigen Receptors May Boost Immune System Response to Fight Cancer
UCLA Research Shows Chimeric Antigen Receptors May Boost Immune System Response to Fight Cancer

Tumors have a number of ways to avoid detection and attack by the body’s immune system, making them difficult to eliminate. In a victory for cancer immunotherapy, scientists have created a synthetic protein with the ability to reverse these defenses.

Overcoming Safeguards of Tumor Cells

Most diseased cells carry proteins called antigens that trigger a response from T cells in the immune system, resulting in neutralization of the threat. In contrast, tumor cells secrete immunosuppressive cytokines, and these soluble proteins disable the immune response from T cells.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, which received FDA approval in 2017, has been successfully used to treat blood cancers such as leukemia. Unfortunately, these therapies have not had a similar effect on solid tumors.

Making Cancer Work Against Itself

Building on the principle of CARs and their power to counteract the defenses of cancer cells, a team of scientists at UCLA engineered CARs to respond to soluble proteins along with surface-bound antigens. In effect, cancer’s primary weapon ends up acting as an instrument of its own destruction.

Since these CARs are engineered, it opens up the possibility of using this method to create cancer immunotherapy treatments for other applications. The UCLA team has already engineered CARs that respond to various soluble proteins, including transforming growth factor (TGF) beta.

Cancer Immunotherapy: Boosting the Body’s Own Immune System

Our individually developed immunotherapy programs focus on restoring the body’s immune system and its natural defense mechanisms. These programs are non-toxic, without the adverse side effects that often accompany chemotherapy and other traditional cancer treatments.

Visit our website for more information.

Mammograms and Breast Cancer – The Problem with Dense Tissue


If you’ve recently had a mammogram, you may have discovered that you have dense breast tissue. What does it mean? How does it affect your results and prognosis for breast cancer?

The definition of dense tissue
Fibrous and fatty tissue give breast their size and shape, holding in place glandular tissue, home of the lobules which produce milk. For reasons not yet known, those with dense breast tissue simply have more fibrous connective tissue or glandular tissue than fatty tissue. It is common for breast density to increase with age, and dense tissue is not abnormal.

Breast density and the cancer risk
Women with high breast density are 4-5 times more likely to get breast cancer than those with low breast density, however lowering the density of the tissue has not been shown to decrease this risk. As a result, at this time breast density is not considered a factor in assessing a woman’s cancer risk.

How breast density effects mammograms
Mammograms are more difficult to interpret on patients with high breast density than those with low. Fatty tissue is more translucent allowing for greater visibility, however dense fibrous and glandular tissue appears white on x-rays, clouding results.  For a better interpretation, your provider may suggest other types of breast imaging to obtain a more accurate diagnosis such as digital mammography, ultrasound, or MRI. Unfortunately there are no special recommendations or screening guidelines for women with dense breasts at this time.

Did you find out you have breast cancer from your mammogram results? Issels can help. Learn more about Issels integrative immunotherapy options for treating your breast cancer today.


New Research Changes Our Understanding of How Cancer Metastasizes

Doctor Listening to Patient
Doctor Listening to Patient

For decades researchers in the lab have studied cancer cells in flat, shallow Petri dishes. As a result, assumptions about how cancer behaves in the body have been based on two-dimensional models. Now, new research is turning long-held beliefs about cancer upside down. Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that cancer actually moves quite differently in the three-dimensional human body than it does in the lab.

How Cancer Spreads in 3D vs. 2D Models

In two-dimensions cancer cells move in a slow, aimless fashion called a “random walk.” Until now researchers had assumed that cancer cells moved in the same random way in the three-dimensional human body, making it virtually impossible to determine where cancer might land when it metastasizes.

The new findings indicate that cancer cells are more directional than random when moving through three-dimensional spaces like the human body. New 3D modeling may allow cancer experts to predict the most likely path of metastasis should cancer spread.

How Cancer Cells Move Explained

“Cancer cells that break away from a primary tumor will seek out blood vessels and lymph nodes to escape and metastasize to distant organs,” Denis Wirtz, director of Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences Oncology Center, explained on HUB. “For a long time, researchers have believed that these cells make their way to these blood vessels through random walks. In this study, we found out that they do not. Instead, we saw that these cells will follow more direct, almost straight-line trajectories. This gives them a more efficient way to reach blood vessels—and a more effective way to spread cancer. This means that the time these cancer cells need to make their way out of connective tissues is much shorter than previous estimates.”

The new 3D model may lead to more effective advanced targeted immune therapies and cancer vaccines designed to protect against metastasis.

Immunotherapy Offers Healthy Solution to Cancer Over-Treatment

Cancer Advancements at the Genetic Level
Cancer Advancements at the Genetic Level

Scientific advancements in genetic research and screening tests now makes it possible to detect abnormalities at the cellular level; however, as previously noted, detection of an abnormality does not necessarily indicate cancer. Yet America’s defensive approach to cancer treatment encourages surgical removal and aggressive treatment of abnormalities with chemotherapy and/or radiation when a “wait and see” approach could be healthier for the patient. Radical cancer treatments carry their own medical risks. Given the onerous side effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, for many cancer patients the “cure” can be more damaging than the disease.

This is particularly true of certain precancerous conditions and slow growing cancers that are unlikely to impact the patient’s health during his or her lifetime. In such cases, traditional cancer treatments present a far greater risk to the patient’s health and well-being. Ongoing research will eventually increase our ability to determine which tumors require treatment and which are unlikely to be dangerous and can be watched or effectively ignored, but an alternative cancer therapy offers an immediate solution.

Integrative immunotherapy is regarded by both traditional and alternative cancer experts as the future of cancer treatment and the most likely avenue to a cure for cancer. Unlike chemotherapy and radiation which attack and can harm the body, immunotherapy works with the body, boosting the body’s immune system and its natural ability to fight off cancer cells. Even when the path of abnormal cells is not known, immunotherapy follows the primary medical precept: Do no harm. And increasing the effectiveness of the immune system may actually be a determining factor in preventing abnormal cells from becoming cancerous.