Tag Archives: Immunotherapy for Cancer

Modified Polio Virus to be Tested In Brain Cancer Research Efforts

Issels the Premier Provider of Immuno Oncology
Issels the Premier Provider of Immuno Oncology

When it comes to your health, a virus is generally something to be avoided. In a surprising discovery, a virus that normally causes paralysis may hold promise as an immunotherapy for cancer treatment.

Can a Virus Actually Fight a Tumor?

Glioblastoma is the most common and most deadly form of brain cancer affecting adults. It gained a measure of public awareness after former Sen. Edward Kennedy and Beau Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, succumbed to the disease. One year ago Sen. John McCain, already a cancer survivor, was diagnosed with glioblastoma.

Poliovirus, which causes the paralyzing disease that shares its name, infects cells in the nervous system. Based on this feature, a team of Duke University scientists decided to test a genetically modified version on patients with treatment-resistant glioblastoma.

Poliovirus and the Immune System: A Two-Pronged Attack

The researchers neutralized the virus by replacing the specific gene that causes polio with one from rhinovirus, which generally causes head colds. Once infused directly into the tumors, the newly formed virus was able to infect and kill cancer cells as well as stimulate the immune system to attack the cells.

According to team member Dr. Darell Bigner, the group’s 21 percent survival rate after three years is more than five times that of a previously treated comparison group. The researchers are planning to conduct studies combining the modified poliovirus with other immunotherapy for cancer drugs in hopes of improving the results.

Treatment for Advanced and Therapy-Resistant Cancers

Our Issels® immunotherapy for cancer programs have helped a number of patients when other treatments have failed. Contact us for more information.

Should Immunotherapy be the Last Resort for Cancer Treatment?

It's Time to Cross Out Cancer! Using Immunotherapy Treatments
It’s Time to Cross Out Cancer! Using Immunotherapy Treatments

While immunotherapy for cancer has provided an exciting new avenue for scientists, there is still much to be learned about which patients will respond, leading to a serious dilemma for doctors: when all other methods have failed, is it ethical to provide cancer patients with immunotherapy treatments on an experimental basis?

If a Little Is Good, Is a Lot Better?

You need to go back only to the 1980s and 1990s for an example of the dangers of treating patients with untested methods. Many doctors began giving women with breast cancer higher-than-usual doses of chemotherapy and radiation based solely on theory, but it turned out that the treatment was worse than the disease.

Immunotherapy for cancer drugs that have received approval, such as Opdivo and Keytruda, are restricted to a narrow range of patients. Many oncologists won’t consider immunotherapy as an option outside of its designated uses.

“Desperation Oncology”: A Last Chance

Recently, though, oncologists such as Dr. Oliver Sarter of Tulane Medical Center have begun to offer what they refer to as “desperation oncology.” The reasoning is that if a cancer patient is terminal and there’s even an infinitesimal chance that an immunotherapy drug may help, it’s worth the risk.

Not surprisingly, results have been mixed. Drugs had no effect on one patient with bladder cancer who was treated by Dr. Sarter, while another patient with metastatic prostate cancer went into immediate remission upon treatment.

Tailoring Immunotherapy for Cancer to the Patient

At Issels®, we conduct a number of tests to ensure that we design a course of treatment that’s appropriate for each patient. Contact us for more information.

Lymph Node Metastasis Uses Blood Vessel Pathways to Spread Cancer

Metastasis Uses Blood Vessel Pathways
Metastasis Uses Blood Vessel Pathways

Lymph node metastasis can have major implications for immuno oncology treatment. In a recent study, scientists examined the progression of metastatic tumor cells to learn more about how they are disseminated throughout the body.

Is Treatment of Lymph Node Metastases a Priority?

When cancer metastasizes in the lymph nodes, it’s generally a sign of an exceptionally aggressive tumor and a poor prognosis. Scientists differ on the treatment of lymph node metastases, with some experts believing it’s “clinically inconsequential” while others think they should be treated promptly to prevent distant metastases.

Results of clinical testing further complicate the issue. In one trial, removal of anything beyond the first lymph node had no benefit for patients who had received radiation and systemic therapies, while in another, lymph node treatment was found to help a subgroup of patients with breast cancer.

Tracing the Journey of Metastatic Cancer Cells

A team of researchers implanted a group of mice with cancer cells that expressed a photoconvertible protein known as Dendra2. This feature allowed scientists to photoactivate selected metastatic cells in the lymph nodes and follow their path.

Originally, metastatic cells were thought to travel by either blood vessels or the lymphatic system. In studying the affected mice, scientists determined that the metastatic cells followed a hybrid route by invading blood vessels within a lymph node, using it as a means of exit by which the cells could travel to the lungs and other organs.

Issels®: Leading the Way in Immuno Oncology for Advanced Cancers

Our comprehensive immuno oncology treatments have helped a number of patients with metastatic and recurring cancer. Contact us for more information.

New Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Improves Life Expectancy

There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment
There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment

No two cases of cancer are the same, so scientists are finding that cookie-cutter cancer treatment is not always the best solution. According to a recently published study, a personalized vaccine has shown promise for boosting ovarian cancer survival rates.

Ovarian Cancer: The “Silent Killer”

An international team of researchers conducted the study of ovarian cancer, often referred to as a “silent killer” because it’s usually in an advanced stage by the time of diagnosis. Chemotherapy plus surgery is the conventional course of treatment, but team member Dr. Lana Kandalaft notes that 85 percent of patients experience recurrence.

Matching Cancer Treatment to Patient

Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that uses a patient’s own immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. In this case, researchers created a vaccine by harvesting a patient’s immune cells, then exposed them to cells from the tumor so they could be identified.

All patients in the study were treated with a combination of immunotherapy drugs, while a certain number also received the vaccine. After one year, the vaccinated group had a survival rate of 100 percent compared to 60 percent of the control group.

Results continued to be encouraging after two years. The vaccinated group showed a survival rate of 78 percent, while the rate dropped to 44 percent with patients receiving drugs alone.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Personalized Cancer Treatment

Our founder, Dr. Josef Issels, performed groundbreaking work developing immunotherapy as an integrative and holistic form of cancer treatment. Visit our website for more information about how we are continuing his legacy of helping patients with advanced and therapy-resistant cancers achieve long-term remission.

Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways
Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Effective cancer treatment sometimes involves dealing with side effects and secondary symptoms. Here are some things you need to know about the possible effects of cancer and its treatment on cognitive abilities.

What Is Cognition?

Simply put, cognition is “the mental process of learning and understanding.” Cognitive thinking is what allows you to focus, process new information, solve problems, perceive spatial relationships and communicate via speaking and writing.

Cognitive Problems Related to Cancer

Problems involving learning and memory are common signs of cognitive impairment due to cancer. Specific problems can include:

– Inability to complete tasks

– Failure to recognize familiar objects

– Loss of focus and concentration

– Difficulty with money management, such as paying bills

– Lack of motivation

– Disorganized behavior and/or thinking

Other Factors Contributing to Cognitive Problems

States of mental and physical well-being are deeply intertwined. Cancer patients and survivors may find that the following issues also impact cognitive abilities:

– Age

– Overall weakness or frailty

– Drug and alcohol use

Chemotherapy and other cancer treatment

– Other diseases or illnesses

– Being postmenopausal

Restoring Cognitive Abilities

Researchers are studying the use of certain drugs in treating cognitive problems, but a pharmaceutical solution is still in the future. Many patients have found these natural methods to be helpful:

– Movement therapy, such as tai chi or yoga, that emphasizes the mind-body connection

– Learning new ways to absorb information

– Using calendars, tech devices or other tools to stay organized

– Activities such as gardening or caring for pets that establish focus

Integrative Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our personalized cancer treatment methods avoid the common side effects that can affect your overall wellness. Contact us for more information.

July is Bone Cancer Awareness Month – What to Know

Picture of a bone cross section
Bone Cancer or Sarcoma is in the focus in July

What are the types of bone cancer? Can it be treated with immunotherapy for cancer programs? July is Bone Cancer Awareness Month, making it a good time to share some facts about the disease from the National Cancer Institute.

Basics of Bone Cancer

As the name implies, bone cancer is a malignant tumor that forms in bone tissue. The majority of bone tumors are benign, which means they’re non-fatal and don’t spread.

On the other hand, bone cancer CAN spread to other parts of the body. Regardless of the location of the metastasis, or spread, the disease is still referred to as bone cancer based on its original site.

Types of Bone Cancer

– Osteosarcoma, usually found in the knee or upper arm, develops in hard bone tissue.

– Chondrosarcoma forms in cartilage, which is the tough but resilient tissue that cushions joints.

– The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors, or ESFTs, are thought to arise from primitive nerve tissue in bone or soft tissues.

Bone Cancer Symptoms

Chronic pain or swelling in or near a bone are the most common symptoms of bone cancer, but they could also be indicative of other conditions, so it’s important to be tested.

Treatments for Bone Cancer

Traditional treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy are often used with bone cancer patients. The NCI and other organizations also sponsor frequent clinical trials to investigate immunotherapy for cancer treatments.

Help for Patients with Stage IV Bone Cancer

Visit our website for testimonials from patients with metastasized bone cancer and other forms who have achieved long-term remission with immunotherapy for cancer at Issels®.