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Immunotherapy for Breast Cancer on the Horizon

Sep 17, 2019 10:02:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Immunotherapy, Tumors

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A new treatment has been approved by the FDA to treat breast cancer that combines chemotherapy with immunotherapy.

The war against cancer is ongoing and consists of both winning and losing battles. There are several cancers that have been successfully treated with immunotherapy. However, one type of cancer has been a challenge for the application of immunotherapy is breast cancer. There are various subtypes of breast cancer, and each requires a different treatment approach due to the distinct biology associated with these cancer types and the specific mechanisms involved in breast tumor development.

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Medicare’s Decision to Cover Cell Therapy Treatments

Aug 13, 2019 10:07:00 AM / by Nancy Andon, MSc posted in Cancer, CAR-T, Cell Therapy

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A major breakthrough in Immunotherapy drug coverage was announced last week. Medicare will now cover high-priced blood cancer cell therapies nationwide. The news, announced by officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), comes two years after the FDA approved the first CAR-T therapy in 2017, Novartis’ Kymriah®, a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This long sought-after coverage decision will now ensure patients have consistent and predictable access to potentially life-saving therapies.[1]   

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NK Cell Clinical Trial Begins for Incurable Cancer

Jul 16, 2019 10:12:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Immunotherapy, NK Cells

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New tests begin in the United States using stem cell-derived natural killer cells to help patients suffering from incurable cancer.

Curing the incurable is an ongoing and top endeavor in medical research. This is particularly true for the various forms of cancer that are difficult to treat. The investigation and use of immunotherapy as an option for the treatment of different forms of cancer continues to increase. The main immunotherapeutic approach to cancer involves harvesting stem cells from the patient or a donor. Given the logistics, cost, and time this approach takes, the development of a strategy or cell products that can be used on demand is much desired.

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Better Immunotherapy Research Needed for Elderly Lung Cancer Patients

Jun 25, 2019 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Immunotherapy

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Varied responses to immunotherapy among elderly lung cancer patients reveal the need for more age-inclusive research and clinical trials.

The proportion of the U.S. population that is over 65 years of age has risen. Almost 50 million people are in this age range, a result of medical advancements which improve survival. However, cancer incidence has increased in this same age-group. More specifically, the 75 to 84-year-old age group has the highest percentage of cancer deaths. This increased incidence of cancer in the elderly may be associated with changes that occur in the immune system with advancing age.

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Research on Universal Cancer Vaccine

Sep 17, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, cancer immunotherapy, cancer treatment, Immunotherapy, T Cells, vaccines

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Researchers are hoping to develop a cancer vaccine to improve a patient’s immune system so they can destroy the cancer cells.

The objective of therapeutic cancer vaccines is to support and enhance a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal cells. The first therapeutic immune cell–based cancer vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is Sipuleucel-T. Administration of this vaccine in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer lead to an increase in overall survival. Boosting T-cell responses against antigens that cause a number of diseases has been approached by autologous transfer of dendritic cells. A pilot study was conducted using dendritic cells pulsed with tumor lysate from patients with ovarian cancer. Vaccination of the patients stimulated T-cell responses to the tumor antigen led to an increase in patient survival. 

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