LAK Cell Therapy

Integrative Immunotherapy as practiced at our Integrative Oncology Centers has an extensive history of complete long-term remissions of advanced cancers.

Cancer Treatment Summary

Cytokines, NK Cells, LAK Cells Explained

Integrative Immunotherapy as practiced at our Integrative Oncology Centers has an extensive history of complete long-term remissions of advanced cancers. It has further evolved by including research based novel protocols of immune enhancement using these specialized treatments.

Cytokines, NK Cells, LAK Cells Information and Use in Fighting Cancer

Cytokines in Cancer Treatment

In cancer treatment, cytokines are generally used to enhance immunity. Cytokines(Greek cyto-, cell; and -kinos, movement) are substances that are secreted by specific cells of the immune system. They are proteins, peptides or glycoproteins. They carry signals between cells, and thus have an effect on other cells. They can function locally or at a distance to enhance or suppress immunity.

The term "cytokine" refers to the immune modulating agents such as interleukins, interferons, tumor necrosis factor, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). These medications are also called biologic response modifiers.

One class of interleukins is Interleukin-2 (IL-2, Aldesleukin, Proleukin), which is normally produced in the body in small amounts. By increasing levels of IL-2, the increase in immune system components, specifically T-cells and Natural Killer Cells, will mount an attack against any cancer cells. The effect depends on the adhesion molecules or signals in the cells.

Due to the research by Steven A. Rosenberg of the US National Cancer Institute, Interleukin-2 is approved by the FDA for the treatment of cancer. Interferon-alfa 2b is approved by the FDA as well.

Other cytokines have shown great promise in cancer treatment, such as Interleukin-4 during the generation of Dendritic Cells and Interleukin-21 in the enhancement of Natural Killer Cell (NK Cell) activity, as well as in the activation of CD8 T-cells.

Interleukin-2 has demonstrated activity against renal cell cancer, melanoma, lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers that have receptors for IL-2 in the membrane of the specific cell. The high pharmacological dosage generally used is toxic and poses the risk of side effects like fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, fluid retention, low blood pressure and other reactions. Pre-medication can lower risks.

Interleukin-2 can also be given in low dose via a shot under the skin (subcutaneously). For qualified patients we administer a protocol with low dose Interleukin-2 that has shown activity against a variety of advanced solid tumors.

Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells)

Natural Killer Cells, also called NK Cells, are very important cells of our immune system. They are our first line of defense. Natural Killer Cells kill tumor cells and cells infected by viruses by releasing small granules of proteins that cause the target cell to die. This process is called apoptosis or programmed cell death.

Natural Killer Cells evolve from lymphoid precursor cells and are a major component of the innate immune system. It is the innate immune system which provides immediate defense against invaders whereas the adaptive immune system with its antigen-specific cytotoxic T-cells provides long-lasting immunity.

In view of NK Cell's strong cytolytic (cell-dissolving) properties, NK Cell activity is tightly regulated. Natural Killer Cells have a variety of receptors that either activate or suppress their cytolytic activity. The latter has the purpose to prevent auto-immune diseases.

The activating signal for Natural Killer Cells comes in a variety of forms, of which Interferons and macrophage-derived Cytokines are the most potent ones. They are stress molecules released by cells upon viral infection and also in cancer. Natural Killer Cells can also target cells against which a humoral immune response has been mobilized and can lyse cells through antibody-dependent cytotoxicity.

In our efforts to provide maximum immune enhancement to our patients, the comprehensive Issels Immunotherapy programs not only focus on cell-mediated immunity, but on all the different levels of the immune system. We address the adaptive and innate immune system.

Therefore, we integrate a specifically prepared Concentrate of Activated Autologous Natural Killer Cells into our treatment protocols. These are the patient's own immune cells which do not cause adverse reactions such as allergies or rejection and do not require immune suppressive drugs. (Donor immune cells may cause adverse reactions and require immune suppressive drugs.)

Lymphokine-Activated Killer Cells (LAK Cells)

Lymphokine-Activated Killer Cells, also known as LAK cells, are lymphocytes that in the presence of Interleukin-2 are stimulated to kill tumor cells. Lymphocytes are one of the five kinds of white blood cells, or leukocytes, circulating in the blood. They play an integral role in the body's defenses. The culture of lymphocytes in the presence of interleukin-2 results in effector cells which are cytotoxic to tumor cells.

The precursor cells of lymphocytes (THO) have many receptors or adhesion molecules in their membrane for IL-2 and during our procedures they are stimulated to increase their cell division into the cytotoxic line (LTCD4, LTCD8, NK cells). When these lymphocytes are activated in the circulation they can destroy circulating malignant cells.

Mature lymphocytes are extraordinarily diverse in their functions. The most abundant lymphocytes are B lymphocytes (often simply called B-cells) and T lymphocytes (likewise called T-cells). B-cells are produced in the bone marrow. The precursor cells of T-cells are also produced in the bone marrow but leave the bone marrow and mature in the Thymus (which accounts for their designation).

Our protocols of Immune Enhancement involve the administration of Autologous Lymphocytes. These are the patient's own immune cells which do not cause adverse reactions such as allergies or rejection and do not require immune suppressive drugs. (Donor immune cells may cause such adverse reactions.)


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