Blog | HemaCare

Research on Universal Cancer Vaccine

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

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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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Treating Glioblastoma with CAR-T Immunotherapy

Aug 13, 2018 10:11:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in CAR T cells, immunotherapy, T cells, cancer immunotherapy

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There are some promising advances in treating glioblastoma and other cancers with immunotherapy.

The most frequently diagnosed type of brain cancer in adults is glioblastoma multiforme. Despite the emergence of immunotherapeutic approaches for a number of cancers, reliable treatments that can extend overall survival of patients with glioblastoma to the two-year mark and beyond are still under investigation. There are some promising advances such as an experimental dendritic cellbased vaccine that increased the median overall survival rate from 15 months to 23 months.

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Two-Pronged Antibodies Draw Immune Killers to Cancer Cells

Aug 6, 2018 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in cancer immunotherapy

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Researchers have developed an antibody to enhance the ability of cytotoxic T cells to target cancers cells.

The arsenal of immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer treatment is continuing to grow. Of the immune cells and molecules used to enhance the body’s ability to fight cancer, using antibodies is gaining momentum as a strategy to target cancer cells. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida have developed an antibody with two specific functions that enhance the ability of cytotoxic T cells to target cancers cells.

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New Cancer Immunotherapy Approach Seeks to Supercharge T cell Activity

Jun 11, 2018 10:06:00 AM / by Nancy Andon, MSc posted in cancer immunotherapy

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An independent study [1] published by MedImmune/AstraZeneca cites the use of HemaCare leukopaks to assist in the development of a novel approach to treating cancer.

The new technique is based on an engineered protein named MEDI6383, and preliminary studies of its efficacy against cancer have been promising enough to launch a Phase 1 clinical trial.

The biggest hurdle doctors face when treating cancer is the inability of the body to distinguish between normal cells and cancer cells. Cancer cells are essentially normal cells that are damaged by mutations in particular genes. These mutations can result, first and foremost, in abnormalities in cell cycle regulation, causing cells to divide and grow uncontrollably. Mutations can also interfere with the immune system, making it difficult for immune cells to recognize cancer cells they way they would a foreign invader such as a bacteria or virus. It thus becomes very difficult to rid the body of cancer cells without damaging normal cells, which is why traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are so hard on the patient. To get around this conundrum, cancer researchers have had to devise a new set of tactics.  The result is the promising field of cancer immunotherapy, a medical discipline designed to circumvent cancer cell-induced immune suppression by provoking an enhanced anti-tumor response.

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Prevent Recurring Tumors with Immunotherapy

May 14, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in new immunotherapy advances, immunotherapy, cancer immunotherapy, Tumors, tumor cells, Dendritic cells, Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy

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Immunotherapy is becoming a promising treatment approach for cancer patients with recurring tumors, and more studies will help to further develop the treatment options.

Surgical resection is still the first-line treatment for solid tumors despite the rate of tumor recurrence with this approach. Surgery to remove tumors provokes wound healing processes that promote local immunosuppressive environments and metastasis. Surgical resection of tumors can also remove beneficial immune cells and factors that could promote targeting and killing of tumor cells. Radio- or chemotherapy as an adjunct to surgery has some limited effects on distant metastasis, but these treatments are associated with significant systemic adverse effects. 

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