Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments
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Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments
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Teaching the Immune System How to Fight Cancer

Teaching the Immune System How to Fight Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Immunotherapy research continues in the search for ways to beat cancer.

Typically treatments are targeted to work in two different ways - either by boosting the immune system or training the immune system to specifically attack cancer cells.

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Development of Personalized Cancer Vaccine Will Use Patients Own Immune System to Overcome Cancer

Development of Personalized Cancer Vaccine Will Use Patients Own Immune System to Overcome Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Training immune cells with genes harvested from a patient’s own tumor could make an already promising new cancer treatment even better.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

A new cancer therapy is under trial based on engaging the immune system to overcome the cancer.

It begins with a piece of the tumor material being surgically removed. RNA is then extracted from that material as a means of identifying all of the active genes present in the tumor.

The collection of active genes then eventually becomes a vaccine for the patient’s immune system. The vaccine preparation involves collecting white blood cells of the immune system from the patient. Those immune system cells are then modified with the tumor genes found earlier so that they can learn to target the mutations found specifically in the patient’s own cancer cells. The modified cells are then introduced back into the patient and will alert other immune system cells to attack the cancer.

An ongoing randomized study is in progress, based on the success of a smaller trial.

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Using the Body’s Own Immune System as a Cancer Therapy

Using the Body’s Own Immune System as a Cancer Therapy | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Increasingly, doctors are using their patients' own immune systems as valuable weapons against the disease.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The focus of cancer research has been on exploring ways to treat the tumor. It is always enlightening to see research that focuses on treating the patient rather than only the tumor.

Scientists have long tried to understand how to get the immune system—the body’s natural defense mechanism—to recognize cancer cells as the enemy, and destroy them. This has led to the introduction of immunotherapy, which induces, enhances, or suppresses an immune system response to help treat the disease condition. Its focus is on using the body’s own immune system. In terms of cancer this is an interesting and growing area of study.

Cancer immunotherapy is used to provoke the immune system into attacking the tumor cells. Cancer cells have subtly different molecules on their surface that can be detected by the immune system. The focus of immunotherapy in treating cancer is based on cell-based therapies, antibody therapies, and cytokine therapies.

Oncologist Dr. David Maloney is one of the oncologists on the forefront of the next major advance in immunotherapy. He infuses lymphoma patients with their own T-cells, re-engineered to produce a chimeric antigen receptor (or CAR T-cells) that, once triggered, can eliminate cancer. Unlike antibodies, which are broken down by the body over time, CAR T-cells may continue to multiply, serving as a “living therapy” throughout a patient’s life— staying on guard for any subsequent relapses.

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, August 1, 2014 12:11 PM

Breakthroughs like this are fantastic news...however, I would like to see just as much, if not more, emphasis on prevention.  There are many lifestyle choices that studies show impact the immune system as well as studies that indicate many medical professionals are not comfortable dealing with obesity and other issues that lead to chronic illness.  If people can experience greater quality of life and a much lower cost than going through chronic illness, we need to start giving medical professionals the training they need to communicate with their patients.  For more information, go to www.iPECwellbeing.com

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Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer

Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
The drugs work by unleashing the immune system to attack cancer cells, much as it attacks bacteria or other foreign invaders in the human body
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Drugs that focus on using the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells have become a promising field of research. This is the field of immunotherapy and predictions are that it could turn out to be the dominant therapeutic approach to cancer in the coming years. Stimulating and harnessing the body’s defense system may certainly be preferable to the current chemotherapy approach, which in many cases devastates an already compromised immune system.

Like all drugs, immunotherapy also has risks and possible side effects. The immune system is a powerful protector of our health. However we already know what can go wrong if there is an inappropriate immune response from the body. There are many diseases associated with immune system response, such as Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, Graves' disease, pernicious anemia, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, etc.

Let’s hope that the successes achieved already with immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer leads to continued positive outcomes.

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