Immunotherapy is expected to steal the spotlight when the world’s leading cancer doctors convene in Chicago in June for a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. At center stage will be new biotech drugs designed to help the body’s immune system fight cancer. Under development by global pharmaceutical giants Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche, the new designer drugs enhance the ability of immune system T cells to target and attack cancer.
In previous studies, T cell therapies have produced promising results when used to combat several types of advanced cancer, including melanoma, lung and kidney cancers. New studies showing similarly promising results for advanced bladder and head and neck cancers will be presented at the conference.
There is tremendous need to find cancer treatment solutions for advanced cancers that have proven resistant to standard Western cancer treatments.
The new T cell therapies have produced only mild side effects, offering a healthier option to the often debilitating side effects associated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Immunotherapy “should represent a major advance in cancer therapy and patient survivability. Wall Street is increasingly recognizing the multibillion-dollar potential for cancer immunotherapies,” Len Yaffe of StockDoc Partners told Reuters.
While it is heartening to see Big Pharma finally embracing immunotherapy, we find it somewhat disturbing that Western medicine continues to value drug protocols over natural, non-toxic immunotherapy. Visit our website to find out about Issels’ non-toxic T cell cancer vaccines and our holistic approach to immunotherapy.
“It is time for drug companies to put helping patients first,” says Dr. Carlos S. Moreno. The Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at Emory University makes a compelling argument on Reuters.com that it’s time large pharmaceutical companies started living up to their stated goal of saving and improving lives. By placing their responsibilities to their shareholders and profit margin over their moral responsibility to better patients’ lives, Moreno says Big Pharma is holding back vital cancer research.
At issue are the roadblocks cancer researchers are encountering as they explore new avenues for treating cancer. As Moreno notes, “Researchers … are making remarkable discoveries to help identify new drugs and drug targets for cancer patients. Many new compounds are under investigation, including those that inhibit the growth of cancer cells, block the blood supply to tumors and prevent tumors from evading the immune system.”
The sequencing of cancer genomes has allowed the development of advanced targeted therapies and is providing researchers with new insights into how cancer grows and why it returns. As Moreno explains:
“One clear insight we have gained is the likelihood that no single drug will be able to defeat cancer. The reason most cancers become drug resistant and come back is because the DNA mutates quickly. Cancer cells that are not killed by the drugs survive, continue to grow and replace the cells that have been wiped out.”
Many cancer researchers have concluded that an integrative approach to cancer treatment is necessary to defeat cancer’s ability to mutate and survive. Unfortunately, researchers are finding that their ability to turn new discoveries into therapeutic cancer treatments is being stymied by Big Pharma’s constant eye on profit margins.
Men have another reason to catch some Z’s. According to a new study, getting a good night’s sleep may help protect men against prostate cancer. A Harvard study has linked high levels of the hormone melatonin, which the body produces during nighttime sleep, with a 75% reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer. The study also found that melatonin levels dropped when sleep was disrupted. Prostate cancer joins a lengthening list of diseases linked to sleep length and quality, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease.
There’s no magic number, but the National Sleep Foundation says the average adult needs from 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Most U.S. adults say they get about 7.5 hours of sleep a night, but a 2006 study found that adults aren’t getting as much sleep as they think they are. A University of Chicago study found that white men actually slept only 6.1 hours; black men, 5.1 hours. At the time, study author Diane Lauderdale, an associate professor of health studies at the University of Chicago, told Science Daily:
“People don’t think they get enough sleep, and they get less sleep than they think. As we learn more and more about the importance of sleep for health, we find evidence that people seem to be sleeping less and less.”
Average sleep times have declined steadily since the early 1900s when most people averaged 9 hours of sleep. The rise of sedentary white collar jobs that don’t require physical labor is thought to have had some impact on the drop in sleep duration. But even more culpable is the increase in nighttime leisure options that began with the introduction of the television and has exploded during the current digital age.
Perhaps the new findings will encourage men to unplug and go to sleep.