With the Fifth International Cancer lmmunotherapy Conference being held in Paris, France the end of September, Comprehensive Cancer looks at advancements in the treatment of cancer, and how the oncology practice uses  immunotherapy to treat patients with cancer.

This year’s conference program focuses on Translating Science into Survival and feature talks from more than 50 leaders in the field. Discussions cover all areas of cancer immunology and immunotherapy, including regulating T cells and their response to cancer, tumor microenvironment, genetically engineered T cells, maintenance of immune balance, novel vaccine platforms and combinations, mutational analysis and predicting response to immunotherapy, convergence of technology and cancer immunotherapy, microbiome, and metabolism.

With thousands of types of cancers known, and no two cases exactly alike, finding treatments effective for individual patients has been the goal of researchers around the world. These efforts include physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers who are conducting clinical trials right here in Southern Nevada. Comprehensive Cancer Centers has been on the front lines of immunotherapy, which is delivering strong results for patients with cancer.

What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer. The immune system helps your body fight infections and other diseases. It is made up of white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system. Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy. Biological therapy is a type of treatment that uses substances made from living organisms to treat cancer.

Anyone could develop a cancer cell at some point in life. The immune system will often recognize the cancerous cells and eliminate them. However, cancer can sometimes develop a “camouflage” to shield itself from the immune system. When camouflaged, the cells can then survive, grow, and spread to other parts of the body. Immunotherapy can come into play by breaking down the camouflage, exposing the malignant cells and eliminating them.

The Different Types of Immunotherapy

A few of the types of immunotherapy techniques that help the immune system act directly against the cancer include:

  • Checkpoint Inhibitors: These are drugs that help the immune system respond more strongly to a tumor. These drugs work by releasing “brakes” that keep T cells (a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system) from killing cancer cells. These drugs do not target the tumor directly. Instead, they interfere with the ability of cancer cells to avoid immune system attack.
  • Adoptive Cell Transfer: This treatment that attempts to boost the natural ability of T cells to fight cancer. In this treatment, T cells are taken from a tumor. Then those T cells that are most active against the patient’s cancer are grown in large batches in the lab.  The process of growing T cells in the lab can take 2 to 8 weeks. During this time, patients may have treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy to reduce immune cells. After these treatments, the T cells that were grown in the lab will be given back to patients via a needle in your vein.
  • Monoclonal antibodies: Also known as therapeutic antibodies, monoclonal antibodies, are immune system proteins produced in the lab. These antibodies are designed to attach to specific targets found on cancer cells. Some monoclonal antibodies mark cancer cells so that they will be better seen and destroyed by the immune system, and these are a type of immunotherapy. Other monoclonal antibodies that are used in cancer treatment do not cause a response from the immune system. Such monoclonal antibodies are considered to be targeted therapy, rather than immunotherapy.
  • BCG: BCG, which stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, is an immunotherapy that is used to treat bladder cancer. It is a weakened form of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. When inserted directly into the bladder with a catheter, BCG causes an immune response against cancer cells. It is also being studied in other types of cancer.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help with Immunotherapy

Comprehensive has pioneered relationships with numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to participate in the development of treatments that help break down the camouflage from cancer cells. The practice has been instrumental in participating in trial phases of various immunotherapy treatments and has aided in many of their FDA-approvals. Comprehensive’s participation in research allows patients from Southern Nevada easy access to promising drugs that might not be available anywhere else in the world.

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options, including immunotherapy for patients with cancer. The practice also has the latest treatments for patients with  lung and breathing challenges, and those interested in knowing more about their personal health risks through cancer genetic counseling and world-class clinical research.  To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.


The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.