Bushwhacking cancer from within
IBC Hospital is among world research hospitals where the latest in advanced procedures is combined with total metabolic programs in an individualized way.
Immunotherapy — using the body's own defense system against cancer and other conditions — is part of medicine’s new wave. Various techniques to bolster or regulate immune responses are widely researched, but IBC is one of the few centers where such approaches join hands with integrative and metabolic treatments.
Among these, the use of the body's own tissues to vaccinate the patient against cancer is one of the more exciting. IBC has helped pioneer the use of “autologous” — that is, from one's own self — vaccines against cancer. We are using a vaccine made from the patient's own dendritic cells (DCs) — specialized immune system cells — from circulating blood. The blood is taken in the usual way. Dendritic cells are star-shaped white cells (leukocytes) which are regarded as the most powerful "antigen-presenting" cells — meaning they in essence lock onto and "present" to the total immune system a target, in this case a cancer cell of a specific type. Immune cells then demolish the tumor. Vaccines can actually be "customized" from each patient's blood for this effect.
Antigen - presenting cells are the bushwhackers of the immune system: they hide out in tissues and “trap” particles of invaders (antigens). When acted upon by local inflammatory stimuli they travel to lymph nodes and then set in motion the body’s own immune attack on the antigens they have trapped.
Dendritic cells are obtained through a normal venouos puncture in the same manner blood is obtained for common laboratory testing. Dendritic cells present in peripheral circulating blood cells are collected this way and then concentrated. They are "cultured" for two days as they undergo maturation and activation, during which time cells will become increasingly active and ready to interve in immunological reactions. Mature, dendritic cells are then washed and administered intravenously.
Clinical research suggests that dendritic cell vaccines generate both "humoral" and "cell-mediated" responses, induce long-term protection against "re-challenge" by tumor cells. Since the biological product is sourced on the patient's own blood and is free of medical compounds that are often concerned in regular vaccines, there is no evidence of a pathological reactions, toxicity or side effects known to occur in other forms of vaccinations.
Combining tumor cell-specific dendritic cell vaccines with a total program which marshals the immune system in many other ways while detoxifying the body and attacking cancer in other ways allows particularly impressive responses in lymphomas, leukemia, intracerebral glioma and melanoma.
Denditric cell vaccines are also important in the management of humoral or cell mediated autoimmune disease; efectiveness of concentrated dendritic cells has been reported on a number of immune related conditions such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Once ready, the DC vaccines are provided to the patient as an important part of the patient's home follow-up program. The patient or a family member will be trained in the administration of a small dose of the product in the same way an allergy vaccine or insulin is applied.
The individualized protocol will be followed for thirteen consecutive weeks resulting in enhanced immunity that will also have the advantage of being targeted for the specific problem for which it was created.
Immunological management represents a newer and more rational approach to the management of degenerative disease. From cancer to autoimmune disease the understanding of the origin of the problem, can provide a non-toxic, more biological and more specific form of treatment directed towards assisting the normal mechanisms of healing rather than the constant, never-ending fight against symptoms. We will see in the near future a greater involvement of immunology in the protocols of major diseases as a key contributor to medicine.
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