Archive for July 2017

Adoptive Cell Therapy

http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/immunotherapy/adoptive-cell-therapy

Adoptive cell therapy tries to boost the natural ability of your immune system’s killer cells, either T cells or natural killer cells, to recognize and kill cancer cells.

During adoptive cell therapy, scientists draw some blood from you and remove T cells from the blood. Doctors may modify your T cells so they can better recognize the cancer cells in your body. These altered T cells are then grown in large batches in the lab. Growing enough altered T cells for a treatment can take 2 weeks to several months.

In some cases, a person having adoptive cell therapy may have other treatments to reduce the number of immune cells in the body because these unaltered immune cells do not recognize the cancer cells. Then, the altered T cells are put back in the body to seek out and destroy the cancer cells.

There are several types of adoptive cell therapy, based on how the T cells are treated in the lab:

  • chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy genetically alters T cells to have chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, on their surfaces; CARs may allow the T cells to better recognize cancer cells
  • tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) T cell therapy removes TILs, a type of T cell found in cancer tumors, and treats them with interleukin (IL-2), a type of protein that can boost the ability of the T cells to recognize cancer cells; IL-2 is also a cytokine and a man-made version of it called Proleukin (chemical name: aldesleukin) has been approved by the FDA to treat metastatic kidney cancer and metastatic skin cancer

No adoptive cell therapies have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat breast or any other cancer yet. Adoptive cell therapy is only available in <a href="http://www.breastcancer.org/treatm…

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Immune Targeted Therapies

http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/immunotherapy/immune-targeted-therapies

Targeted cancer therapies are treatments that target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein that allows cancer cells to grow in a rapid or abnormal way. Some targeted therapies work like the antibodies made naturally by the immune system. These types of targeted therapies can help the immune system recognize the cancer.

One way the immune system defends the body against foreign invaders is by making large numbers of antibodies. An antibody is a protein that sticks to an antigen. Antigens are proteins and other substances on the surface of and inside foreign cells that the body doesn’t recognize. Antigens trigger the immune system to attack them and the cells they are in or on, whether viruses, bacteria, or something else. Antibodies circulate throughout your body until they find and attach to the antigen. Once attached, antibodies can recruit other immune system cells to destroy the cells containing the antigen.

Researchers have designed antibodies that specifically target a certain antigen, such as one found on specific cancer cells. These are known as monoclonal antibodies.

Some monoclonal antibodies recognize specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells, called target proteins, and then bind to those target proteins. When the monoclonal antibody binds to the target protein, it blocks the target protein’s function and kills the cancer cell. Monoclonal antibodies that work like this and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat breast cancer are:

  • Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab), which kills HER2-positive breast cancer cells by binding to the HER2 receptor and blocking cancer cells’ ability to receive growth signals
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Cytokines

http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/immunotherapy/cytokines

Cytokines are considered non-specific immunotherapy medicines because they don’t respond to a particular target on most cancer cells. Instead, they boost the immune system in a more general way. This general boost can still lead to a better immune response to cancer. In many cases, cytokines are given after or at the same time as another cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Cytokines are proteins made by some immune system cells. They help control the growth and activity of other immune system cells and blood cells.

Right now, no cytokines are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat breast cancer.

There are two main cytokines being studied to treat cancer: interleukins and interferons.

Interleukins are a group of cytokines that help white blood cells, which are immune system cells, talk to each other and help the immune system produce cells that destroy cancer.

A specific interleukin, interleukin-2 (IL-2), helps immune system cells grow and divide more quickly, which means there are more of them to attack foreign cells in the body, such as cancer. A man-made version of IL-2 called Proleukin (chemical name: aldesleukin) has been approved by the FDA to treat metastatic kidney cancer and metastatic skin cancer.

Side effects of IL-2 can include chills, fever, fatigue, weight gain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood pressure. Rare but serious side effects include abnormal heartbeat, chest pain, and other heart problems.

Other interleukins, including IL-7, IL-12, and IL-21 are being studied as medicines to treat cancer.

Interferons are proteins that help the body fight off virus infections and cancers. Some research suggests that interferons may actually slow the growth of cancer cells. There are three types of interferons, which is abbreviated IFN: IFN-alpha, IFN-beta, and IFN-gamma.

Only IFN-alpha is FDA-a…

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What Is Immunotherapy?

http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/immunotherapy/what

Immunotherapy medicines use the power of your body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.

Your immune system is made up of a number of organs, tissues, and cells that work together to protect you from foreign invaders that can cause disease. When a disease- or infection-causing agent, such as a bacterium, virus, or fungus, gets into your body, your immune system reacts and works to kill the invaders. This self-defense system works to keep you from getting sick.

Cancer immunotherapy medicines work by helping your immune system work harder or more efficiently to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy uses substances — either made naturally by your body or man-made in a lab — to boost the immune system to:

  • stop or slow cancer cell growth
  • stop cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body
  • be better at killing cancer cells

To start an immune system response to a foreign invader, the immune system has to be able to tell the difference between cells or substances that are “self” (part of you) versus “non-self” (not part of you and possibly harmful). Your body’s cells have proteins on their surfaces or inside them that help the immune system recognize them as “self.” This is part of the reason the immune system usually doesn’t attack your body’s own tissues. (Autoimmune disorders happen when the immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues, such as the thyroid gland, joints, connective tissue, or other organs.)

“Non-self” cells have proteins and other substances on their surfaces and inside them that the body doesn’t recognize, called antigens. Foreign antigens trigger the immune system to attack them and the cells they are in or on, whether viruses, bacteria, or infected cells. This response either destroys the foreign invaders or keeps them in check so they can’t harm the body.

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Immunotherapy

http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/immunotherapy

Immunotherapy medicines use the power of your body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.

Your immune system is the network of organs, tissues, and cells that work together to protect your body from attacks by foreign invaders such as bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi that can cause infection and disease. When these invaders find their way into your body — whether through a break in the skin, for example, or through your mouth or nose — your immune system’s response is the self-defense system that works to keep you from getting sick.

Immunotherapy medicines work by helping your immune system work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells. In cancer treatment, immunotherapy uses substances made by your body or in a lab to improve the function of the immune system by allowing the immune system to:

  • stop or slow the growth of cancer cells
  • stop cancer from spreading to other parts of the body
  • be better at destroying cancer cells

In this section, you can learn more about immunotherapy:

Cancer is Crap: Never Let Go of the Potato: What to Say When Someone Has Cancer

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/cancer-is-crap-never-let-go-of-the-potato-what-to-say-when-someone-has-cancer/

November 25 2009, 10:38 PM

This post is a follow-up to my hugely unhelpful and paralysis-inducing post Ten Things Not To Say To Someone With Cancer. In an effort to make amends for freezing the tongues of well-meaning loved-ones, I’ll provide a quick round-up of some of the best things anyone has ever said to me concerning my cancerousness. Some are originals, some are quotes – for various reasons they’ve all worked for me. Herewith, in no particular order, some of my favourites:

  • “Never Let Go Of The Potato.” My French brother-in-law enthusiastically offered up this Louisiana expression — lâche pas la patate — freely admitting he had no idea what it meant. I like it for its absurdity and passion, like a slogan Che Guevara might have shouted, fist in air …if he had been a revolutionary, um, potato farmer.  But the point is, if the patate in question represents life, well, then I vow to lâche onto it with all I’ve got.

 

  • I feel sorry for the cancer.” I know I’ve mentioned this one before – but my friend Ben’s delivery was so good I felt like Al Capone.

 

  • “When in hell, keep walking.” A version of Winston Churchill’s “Keep Buggering On” which is another of my absolute all-time favourites.

 

  • “For myself I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else.” Truly, I could do a whole list of Churchill quotes, god love the old …

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Cancer is Crap: Never Let Go of the Potato: What to Say When Someone Has Cancer

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/cancer-is-crap-never-let-go-of-the-potato-what-to-say-when-someone-has-cancer/

November 25 2009, 10:38 PM

This post is a follow-up to my hugely unhelpful and paralysis-inducing post Ten Things Not To Say To Someone With Cancer. In an effort to make amends for freezing the tongues of well-meaning loved-ones, I’ll provide a quick round-up of some of the best things anyone has ever said to me concerning my cancerousness. Some are originals, some are quotes – for various reasons they’ve all worked for me. Herewith, in no particular order, some of my favourites:

“Never Let Go Of The Potato.” My French brother-in-law enthusiastically offered up this Louisiana expression — lâche pas la patate — freely admitting he had no idea what it meant. I like it for its absurdity and passion, like a slogan Che Guevara might have shouted, fist in air …if he had been a revolutionary, um, potato farmer.  But the point is, if the patate in question represents life, well, then I vow to lâche onto it with all I’ve got.

 

“I feel sorry for the cancer.” I know I’ve mentioned this one before – but my friend Ben’s delivery was so good I felt like Al Capone.

 

“When in hell, keep walking.” A version of Winston Churchill’s “Keep Buggering On” which is another of my absolute all-time favourites.

 

“For myself I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else.” Truly, I could do a whole list of Churchill quotes, god love the old soak. This one came to me from my friend Scotty Douglas.

 

“I’m not only here for you, I’m in-cancer’s-face here for you.” And its true, she was, and is, and I can’t begin to tell you how I love her for it.

 

“Yes, we’re Lifers, but it sure beats the alternative.” This, from a friend with the BRAC cancer gene – who has so far beaten both breast and pancreatic cancer, thank-you very much – in response to my whining that we were stuck dealing with cancer for the rest of our lives. Her … Read More

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Study Estimates Ashkenazi Jewish Women’s Risk of Having Mutations Other Than BRCA1 and BRCA2

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/ashkenazi-jews-risk-of-other-genetic-mutations

About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by mutated genes passed from parent to child.

Genes are particles in cells, contained in chromosomes, and made of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA contains the instructions for building proteins. And proteins control the structure and function of all the cells that make up your body.

Think of your genes as an instruction manual for cell growth and function. Abnormalities in the DNA are like typographical errors. They may provide the wrong set of instructions, leading to faulty cell growth or function. In any one person, if there is an error in a gene, that same mistake will appear in all the cells that contain the same gene. A genetic error that causes harm is called a mutation.

Many inherited breast cancer cases are associated with two gene mutations: BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene one) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene two).

The average woman in the United States has about a 1 in 8, or about 12%, risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. Women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation (or both) can have up to an 80% risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes. Breast cancers associated with an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene tend to develop in younger women and occur more often in both breasts than cancers in women without these abnormal genes.

Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation also have an increased risk of developing ovarian, colon, and pancreatic cancers, as well as melanoma.

You are substantially more likely to have a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer if:

  • You have blood relatives (grandmothers, mother, sisters, aunts) on either your mother’s or father’s side of the family who had breast cancer diagnosed before age 50.
  • There is both breast and ovarian cancer on the same side of the family or in a single individual.
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