Cell Immunotherapy

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What do we mean by cell immunotherapy?

Chronic diseases, such as cancer, thrive because our immune system is unable to properly do its work. In most cases this is because our body’s immune system is unable to identify cell mutations and fight the cancer.

Cell immunotherapy (not to be confused with drug-based immunotherapy) can stimulate a powerful effective immune response within the body to wage a war against disease in a natural way.

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Why cell immunotherapy?

Although not currently included on many mainstream health system pathways, cell immunotherapy is well established as a safe and effective approach to chronic disease management. It also has the benefit of being able to be given in conjunction with most other traditional treatments (subject to specialist advice on timing for optimum effectiveness). Additionally, it has been shown that cell immunotherapy in its various forms can reduce the symptoms of other health treatment regimes, such as chemotherapy.

Innovita Life’s approach considers the other treatment(s) a patient may be receiving and our specialists do not prescribe these options in isolation. It has been shown that cell immunotherapy in its various forms can reduce the symptoms of other harsh treatment regimes, such as chemotherapy.

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What form does cell immunotherapy take?

1. Dendritic cell vaccines (using patient’s immune system)

Since 1997 scientists and specialists have used dendritic cell vaccines as a therapy for a range of conditions. The process involves extracting the patient’s own monocyte cells which are then matured into dendritic cells in the laboratory. These dendritic cells are then ‘primed’ against cancer cells and returned to the patient where they reside in the lymphatic system. They are able to instruct the immune system to recognize and remove cancer cells. This is a simple, effective, and safe procedure for the patient as reported in thousands of clinical papers and it is applicable to all solid tumors. The action of this therapy against the disease lasts for a long time,  helps patients with autoimmune, degenerative, and oncological diseases.

2. Cytokine Induced Killer therapy or T-cell primed immunotherapy (using patient’s immune system)

This form of therapy is applied in cases where the patient’s immune system is weaker. In this case, the T cells are extracted, multiplied in the laboratory and then ‘primed’ with the patient’s cancer type. When they are given back to the patient they are expected to find and kill the cancer cells. Again, this can be very effective, and is safe for the patient.

3. Umbilical Cord Blood derived natural killer cells - UCB (Using a replacement immune system)

When the patient’s immune system is weak or we want a very immediate effect then we can provide a patient with a ‘replacement’ immune system. This treatment can be given with any other treatment regime as it acts in parallel.

What is UCB?

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune cells that play a crucial role in anti-cancer immunity. NK cells can kill target cells non-specifically, and their recognition of target cells is not restricted by the major histocompatibility complex. The adoptive transfer of NK cells is an emerging therapy in the field of immuno-oncology…

NK cells are dysfunctional in patients with malignancies and their number and function are further impaired by chemotherapy, radiation and immunosuppressants used in initial therapy. Restoring this innate immune deficit may lead to improved therapeutic outcomes.

NK cell adoptive transfer has proven to be a safe in these settings, even in the setting of MHC mismatch. Alloreactive NK cells show potent cytotoxic activities against MHC nonidentical cancer cells. Umbilical cord blood (UCB) is a rich source of NK cells. The higher numbers of NK progenitors in UCB makes it a convenient source for ex vivo expansion of UCB NK cells for post-transplant treatment.

Furthermore, there are phenotypic and functional differences between UCB NK cells and adult peripheral blood NK cells. These differences are mainly associated with MHC mismatch and not affected triggering cascade of activating receptors, that affect NK cells cancer killing ability as well as to the immunosuppressive susceptibility. UCB-derived NK cells have been successfully developed to fight against tumour cells and UCB-derived NK cell-based immunotherapy is a potential strategy for the treatment of cancer.

4. Pre-prepared anti-cancer vaccines – PTAC. (Using the patient’s immune system)

In final development stage but with very encouraging results another cell immunotherapy is a poly-antigen loaded vaccine. The vaccines operate in the same way as the dendritic cell therapy but are loaded with either a wide spectrum of ‘information’ on many types of cancer or with specific antigens to the patient’s identified type of cancer.

This treatment is safe and well tolerated and can be effective. It uses the patient’s own immune system and loads the information about what it should be fighting into these applications. The appropriate application and combination of treatments is determined by the specialist immunologists and oncologists on our team specific for each patient.

Further information about the efficacy, safety and eligibility of these Cell Immunotherapy treatments will be provided during consultations once the patient has provided their full medical history and status to our specialists.

“Compared with previous standards of care (including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery), cancer immunotherapy has brought significant improvements for patients in terms of survival and quality of life. Immunotherapy has now firmly established itself as a novel pillar of cancer care, from the metastatic stage to the adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings in numerous cancer types. In this review article, we highlight how the history of cancer immunotherapy paved the way for discoveries that are now part of the standard of care. We also highlight the current pitfalls and limitations of cancer checkpoint immunotherapy and how novel research in the fields of personalized cancer vaccines, autoimmunity, the microbiome, the tumor microenvironment, and metabolomics is aiming to solve those challenges.”

Najwa Buhlaiga

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