Brain Cancer Vaccine Could Improve Prognosis

Immunotherapy for glioblastoma has been considered an option for patients and extend life of patients.

Glioblastoma multiforme is an aggressive cancer of the brain or spinal cord that originates from astrocytes. Although this type of cancer is not age specific, it is diagnosed more often in older patients. Glioblastoma is very difficult to treat, and current options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, use of electrical fields (tumor treating fields), and targeted therapies to prevent tumor blood vessel formation. On average, people live for about 15 months after diagnosis despite receiving the standard treatments for glioblastoma.

Personalized Vaccine Fights Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer, while common, is challenging to treat, but a new study is looking into an immunotherapeutic approach using a vaccine from dendritic cells.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death overall in women, but is the leading cause of death due to cancer of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer continues to be a challenge to treat, remission is difficult to achieve, and recurrence is common. The treatment approaches used or being studied involve chemotherapy, targeted therapy (to limit damage to normal cells), and immunotherapy. The study of immunotherapeutic approaches is ongoing in order to limit adverse effects in patients and to spare normal tissue from the toxicity seen with chemotherapy. To this end, researchers recently studied an immunotherapeutic approach using a vaccine derived from dendritic cells.

New Improvements for Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a highly studied treatment for cancers, and is now being considered for the treatment of prostate cancer, the most common cancer diagnosis for U.S. men.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for men in the U.S. and a leading cause of cancer-related death. A heavily studied cancer treatment approach is immunotherapy and is increasingly being investigated for the treatment of prostate cancer. Although results of immunotherapy trials for prostate cancer present many challenges (relapse and development of resistance in some patients), they still show potential therapeutic promise.

Prevent Recurring Tumors with Immunotherapy

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. 

Dendritic Cells Change Game for Immunotherapy for Cancer Patients

Further development and wider use of dendritic cell-based anticancer vaccines has the potential to significantly increase cancer survival rates and improve the quality of life and function with fewer adverse effects.

Anticancer therapy using the patient’s own immune cells is an ever-growing area of cancer research that supports personalized medical efforts. This approach in immunotherapy provides specific results that can spare normal tissue and considerably decrease adverse side effects. The use of dendritic cells, powerful antigen-presenting cells of the immune system, is extensively studied. Positive gains have been realized in this arena and are changing the face of cancer therapy.

New Progress in Immunotherapy Strategies

State-of-the-art immunotherapies may show great promise in the future for cancer treatment.

Immunotherapy research results show that cancer treatment may need a combination approach. Dr. Andrew S. Chi, the chief of neuro-oncology and the codirector of the Brain Tumor Center at NYU Langone, weighed in on the state of developed immunotherapy approaches. A number of strategies involve increasing T-cell activation against tumors by the use of checkpoint inhibitors (that block proteins that inhibit immune system attack of cancer cells). Dr. Chi points out that combinations of immune checkpoint inhibitors may be more effective. 

Improved Cancer Immunotherapy Possible with Dendritic Cell Vaccines

Personalized dendritic cell vaccines have continued to show success with the treatment of certain cancers. 

Dendritic cell vaccines are increasingly showing success in the treatment of certain cancers. Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells that process antigens then present them to T cells. In the personalized approach to using dendritic cells vaccines, cells are obtained from the patient, exposed or loaded with cancer antigens, and grown. The resulting antigen-loaded dendritic cells are injected back into the patient, where the dendritic cells can elicit the anti-cancer immune response of T cells.

Targeting Special Dendritic Cells to Treat Scleroderma

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease affecting the connective tissues of the body. This rare disease affects women more than men and is characterized by tightening and hardening of the skin; however, the joints and many other parts of the body are also affected leading to pain and various types of organ dysfunction. Treatment for scleroderma is primarily symptomatic because there is no cure, but this may change for the better thanks to an immunological discovery that may open the door to more direct treatment of the underlying problem.

CD5-Marked Dendritic Cells Are Associated with Inflammatory Skin Disease

Dendritic cells are powerful antigen-presenting cells of the immune system. Subsets of dendritic cells are distinguished by distinct cell surface markers. These markers are responsible for the differences in dendritic cell subset functions. Studies show that specific types of dendritic cells are associated with the development of inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis. The specific dendritic cell associated with the cytotoxic T cell response remains unknown. Therefore, research was conducted that examined human skin dendritic cell populations.

The Effects of Bordetella Adenylate Cyclase Toxin on Dendritic Cells, Macrophages, and Neutrophils Disrupt Host Immunity

CD11b dendritic cells (complement receptor 3 (CR3)–expressing dendritic cells), macrophages, and neutrophils are special phagocytes that have important roles in the body’s first line of defense against invading organisms. The bacteria that cause whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, has many factors that allow it to infect a host. These include adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA), pertussis toxin, adhesion proteins, and a host of others. The CyaA toxin of Bordetella pertussis can cause the production of high levels of 3,5-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in dendritic and other myeloid immune cells (eg., macrophages and neutrophils). The CyaA-induced cAMP signaling disrupts the mechanisms used by these cells to kill invading bacteria.