T cells are in the front line of your immune system, multiplying rapidly to attack invading cells throughout your body. Immunotherapy for cancer took a big step forward with a study that found ways to track T cells in order to harness their specific tumor-fighting abilities.
Finding a Needle in a Haystack
Adoptive T cell transfer is a method of treatment in which T cells are harvested from a patient’s body and “groomed” to target cancer cells. They were then multiplied and placed back in the patient’s system where they could attack the tumor.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of roadblocks to this process. It’s difficult to know which of the thousands of different types of T cells are most effective against cancer, and cloning the cells can dilute or alter the tumor-killing properties of the originals.
Solving the Identification Problem
Researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered a process to help solve the former problem. A method called high throughput T cell receptor sequencing allowed the scientists to tag each T cell receptor with a “barcode,” enabling them to be tracked throughout the body.
The team gained valuable data when they applied the method to 10 patients with metastatic melanoma. Trials are now underway in search of more effective ways to extract and multiply T cells.
Immunotherapy for Cancer: Boosting Your Body’s Natural Defenses
CAR-T is a remarkable new immunotherapy for cancer treatment that has been described as “heroic medicine” for patients who have exhausted all other resources. As Big Pharma begins taking steps toward bringing CAR-T to the market, certain toxic side effects have given some investors pause.
Pros and Cons of CAR-T
Your immune system includes T cells, which are a subtype of white blood cells. CAR-T involves harvesting a patient’s T cells, engineering them to recognize cancer then returning them to the patient’s system where they are now better equipped to fight cancer cells.
So far CAR-T has had particular success against leukemia and lymphoma, with one study resulting in leukemia completely disappearing from 90 percent of the participants. The bad news is that some test subjects have developed serious side effects such as cytokine release syndrome, which can result in organ failure.
The Search for a Safer Treatment
While experts believe the dramatically positive results greatly outweigh the potentially negative ones, researchers are at work exploring ways to make CAR-T safer for cancer patients. One promising approach is standardization of T cell doses by maintaining specific proportions.
Some researchers use a so-called “suicide switch,” which is a drug that causes T cells to self-destruct in the presence of high toxicity levels. Doses of the activation drug can be adjusted so it reduces toxic effects but leaves some T cells intact.
The Non-Toxic Alternative: State-of-the-Art Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®
While immunotherapy is a hot buzzword in the medical community, Issels® has been a leader in the field for decades. Contact us to learn more about the success of our personally-tailored non-toxic immunotherapy for cancer treatment programs.
One of the major road blocks in cancer research has been the unchecked mutations undergone by cancer cells, creating a moving target. An international team recently made a discovery that could overcome the problem, leading to a breakthrough for integrative immunotherapy methods.
Targeting the “tree trunk”
The group of researchers found that, in addition to random mutations, cancer cells within an individual also share specific mutations that can be isolated and attacked. Dr. Sergio Quezada of University College London’s Cancer Institute, co-author of the study, likened the approach to killing a “tree trunk” rather than fighting a tangle of branches.
Creating customized treatment
Dr. Quezeda went on to explain that a customized vaccine could be developed to attack the core mutations in a particular patient. Another possibility would be discovering which T-cells produced by the immune system fight the specific mutations. Those T-cells would then be “fished” from the patient, multiplied in a lab, and re-injected into the body.
What’s in the future?
According to Dr. Quezeda, he believes these specialized treatments would be most effective against melanoma and lung cancer. Both are on the list of the 10 most common forms of cancer in the United States. Dr. Quezeda is hopeful that, in light of this study, trials will begin within five years.
Our Issels® integrative immunotherapy centers have long been in the forefront of using personalized treatment protocols. Each patient receives a specifically created program based on genetic predisposition, lifestyle, environment and other individual factors. Visit our website to read and watch testimonials from patients who have been successfully treated at the Issels® treatment centers.
Dealing with the stress of cancer is difficult, both for the patient and his or her family. Aside from the obvious worry and questions about the illness and treatments are the overwhelming details that must be handled regarding health insurance, medical appointments and financial concerns.
For the Patient
It’s OK to not be OK. Your mind and body are reacting to many new challenges, and if you feel sad, tired, confused, angry, lost, or afraid, it’s OK.
You may not think a support group is for you, but connecting with others going through similar situations, whether in person or online, can reinforce the idea that you’re not alone. And your insight might help someone else. Sometimes that is enough to make you feel more positive.
Give your body a break. Don’t push it. Give yourself permission to rest more by simplifying your routine. Treat yourself to massages, eat healthy and exercise as little or as much as you want.
Prioritize what’s really important to you and unplug from anything that causes undue stress.
Remember that your loved one is feeling very out of control, so sharing input in as many details and decisions as possible will keep the paths of communication open and ease stress between you.
Maintain a good support system of family and friends. Don’t become overwhelmed with the stress of caring for a family member with cancer.
Keep yourself healthy and watch for the warning signs of stress and depression – sleeplessness, irritability, forgetfulness and exhaustion to name a few.
Don’t let cancer related stress diminish the quality of life you or your loved ones deserve. The Issels Treatment® uses natural, alternative protocols, individualized for the patient’s health and well-being.
Immunotherapy is changing the cancer treatment landscape. Advancements in targeted cell therapy may make chemotherapy obsolete within our lifetime. The biggest problem with traditional cancer treatments — chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — is that they destroy healthy tissue along with diseased cancerous tissue. By shifting the battle field from the tissue level to the cellular level, targeted cell therapy aims to destroy only cancerous cells, leaving healthy cells whole and untouched.
Like other immunotherapy cancer treatments, targeted cell therapy makes use of the body’s own disease-fighting mechanism, the immune system. The immune system employs two methods of fighting cancer and other pathogens that attack the body:
The immune system floods the area under attack with antibodies, free-floating proteins that search out and lock onto invading pathogens.
T-cells generated by the immune system seek out and destroy invading pathogens.
While some immunotherapy treatments focus on boosting the effectiveness of the body’s immune system, targeted cell therapy concentrates on the immune system’s most lethal soldiers, T-cells. The cancer community is improving its ability to direct T-cell receptors to target, bind to and destroy very specific types of cells, including cancer cells.
As reported previously, the British company Immunocore has engineered an artificial T-cell receptor that readily binds cancer cells to T-cells without interfering with healthy cells. Immunocore’s artificial receptor differentiates cancerous from healthy cells by recognizing the unique patterns of small proteins that protrude from the surface of different types of cells.
Issels Integrated Oncology offers two Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccines that harness the body’s immune system and its cancer-annihilating T-cells to fight cancer at the cellular level.
A British company has developed a way to harness the body’s T cells to fight cancer. An integral part of our body’s immune system, T cells are like a standing army waiting for battle orders. When pathogens invade, the body sends these specialized white blood cells to search for and destroy invading cells. However, T cells haven’t been as good at targeting cancer cells as they are at targeting other pathogens. Immunocore may have solved that problem.
Immunocore has engineered T cell receptor proteins to recognize and bind to specific cancer-causing peptides in cancer cells, killing the diseased cells without harming healthy cells. (Click to view How It Works in The Independent.)
“Immunotherapy is radically different,” Bent Jakobsen, Immunocore’s chief science officer told The Independent. “It doesn’t do away with the other cancer treatments by any means, but it adds something to the arsenal that has one unique feature — it may have the potency to actually cure cancer.”
Unlike chemotherapy and radiation treatments which have a destructive impact on the body, immunotherapy works with the body, harnessing the immune system to protect against and kill cancer cells. Led by recent cutting-edge advancements in gene- and cell-driven cancer therapies, immunotherapy represents a sea change in the traditional approach to cancer treatment that, interestingly, brings it into alignment with Issels’ alternative cancer therapies.
Issels Integrative Oncology has been a worldwide leader in integrative immunotherapy and science-based alternative cancer treatments for more than 60 years. Visit our website to hear what Issels’ patients have to say about our enviable history of complete long-term cancer remissions, including advanced-stage and standard therapy-resistant cancers.