All of us have an immune system. When we have a cut, cold virus or other damage to our body then our immune system responds and fights the problem. It is normal for our cells to divide and multiply. However, if one our cells divides abnormally then cancer cells can develop. Because these cancer cells are part of our body, our immune system does not recognize them.
Immunology covers a range of possible cancer treatments (also known as biological therapy or biotherapy). These treatments target the cancer cells. Special drugs are being created that stimulate the T-cells (the good cells in our bodies) to find and attack tumors (cancerous cells). Vaccines are also being developed that have a similar effect.
Immunology drugs are reported by the medical profession as generally very effective and well tolerated by our bodies. Existing immunology drugs address relatively few types of cancer today. However, new drugs, approved by the FDA; in clinical trials; or available in other countries are in development.
At ImmunoDigest.com, we will provide information on successful patient case histories in the hope that the success of others will provide a path to a cure for our readers.
In February 2015, Peter was told his suspected laryngitis was cancer. Rounds of chemotherapy and one dose of radiation couldn’t halt its spread. “After one course of Keytruda, his tumors had disappeared. He said his oncologist couldn’t believe his eyes.” “Without his daughter’s research, Peter said he wouldn’t even know about the drug.” “I just got caught up believing everything they said at the hospital.”
At age 58, David was diagnosed with lung cancer. After surgery removed much of his right lung, and he had aggressive chemo – all failed. In 2010, he entered a trial at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In four months “a scan showed his tumor had significantly improved. Remnants of the tumor still showed up on scans when his treatment ended after two years, but it hasn’t grown since.” Twice, David was told he had less than a year to live. “He hasn’t taken the drug for 23 months.”
Dr. Julie Brahmer Oncologist Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore MDRoy Herbst Chief of Medical Oncology Yale Cancer Center, New Haven CT
Patient Dimas P. was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called non-Hodgkins lymphoma. First he tried chemotherapy and later a bone marrow transplant. In a clinical trial 39% of patients like Dimas are tumor free according to researchers. Dimas recalls, “…the cells in my body, within two to three days, all my lymph nodes started melting like ice cubes.” Eventually he was told that his lymphoma was gone.
Dr. Frederick Locke Oncologist Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa Florida
the first CAR-T product to go into the FDA approval process
Kite Pharma is the company developing the treatment
This patient was 18 months old.At first, he was diagnosed with an "irritable hip" from a viral infection.After a couple of more episodes he was diagnosed with a tumor and later with neuroblastoma.After chemotherapy and surgery, a couple of spots remained.He was given a chance in a new immunology trial.After the first dose, the patient was able to go home and only needed to stay in the hospital one night every month for six months.
Dr. Juliet Gray Associate Professor in Pediatric Oncology University of Southhampton, Southhampton
Systemic metastatic squamous cell head and neck carcinoma
Cancer Location, Head and neck
Melinda Welsh wrote a column where she describes how, “despite multiple surgeries, rounds of radiation, and chemotherapy” from July 2015 to December 2015, three doctors told her she had “months to a year” to live. In August 2016, she wrote, “…I thought I’d be gone by the end of this summer, but now my calendar has lengthened in ways my doctors couldn’t have imagined even a year ago.”
Dr. Alain Algazi Skin cancer specialist and research scientist University of California San Francisco, San Francisco