Video: Cancer Immunotherapy

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What is cancer immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. This can be done in a couple of ways:

  • Stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells
  • Giving you immune system components, such as man-made immune system proteins

Some types of immunotherapy are also sometimes called biologic therapy or biotherapy.

In the last few decades immunotherapy has become an important part of treating some types of cancer. Newer types of immune treatments are now being studied, and they’ll impact how we treat cancer in the future.

Immunotherapy includes treatments that work in different ways. Some boost the body’s immune system in a very general way. Others help train the immune system to attack cancer cells specifically.

Immunotherapy works better for some types of cancer than for others. It’s used by itself for some of these cancers, but for others it seems to work better when used with other types of treatment.

Watch video at Bloomberg (8:04 minutes) . . . .

Read more:

Immunotherapy is first to show survival benefit in head and neck cancer . . . . .

Immunotherapy drug shrinks tumors in half of patients with rare, virus-linked skin cancer . . . . .

Asian-flavour Grilled Turkey Burger


450 g ground turkey
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp lime juice, divided
2 small handfuls cilantro leaves, sliced (divided)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
2 whole-wheat buns
8 slices tomato
Handful washed bean sprouts


  1. Preheat barbecue to high.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine ground turkey, green onions, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, 1 Tbsp lime juice and 1 small handful sliced cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Mix together and divide into four patties about 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Place burgers on barbecue and grill until cooked through on both sides.
  4. Mix remaining lime juice with mayonnaise. Divide mayo mixture among four whole-wheat bun halves.
  5. Top each bun with two tomato slices, a burger, one quarter of the bean sprouts and a sprig of cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Best Health magazine

Regular Exercise May Boost Prostate Cancer Survival

Sticking to a moderate or intense exercise regimen may improve a man’s odds of surviving prostate cancer, a new study suggests.

The American Cancer Society study included more than 10,000 men, aged 50 to 93, who were diagnosed between 1992 and 2011 with localized prostate cancer — meaning it had not spread beyond the gland. The men provided researchers with information about their physical activity before and after their diagnosis.

Men with the highest levels of exercise before their diagnosis were 30 percent less likely to die of their prostate cancer than those who exercised the least, according to a team led by Ying Wang, senior epidemiologist at the cancer society’s epidemiology research program.

More exercise seemed to confer an even bigger benefit: Men with the highest levels of exercise after diagnosis were 34 percent less likely to die of prostate cancer than those who did the least exercise, the study found.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in New Orleans.

While the study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, “our results support evidence that prostate cancer survivors should adhere to physical activity guidelines, and suggest that physicians should consider promoting a physically active lifestyle to their prostate cancer patients,” Wang said in an AACR news release.

The researchers also examined the effects of walking as the only form of exercise. They found that walking for four to six hours a week before diagnosis was also associated with a one-third lower risk of death from prostate cancer. But timing was key, since walking after a diagnosis was not associated with a statistically significant lower risk of death, the study authors said.

“The American Cancer Society recommends adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week,” Wang said, and “these results indicate that following these guidelines might be associated with better prognosis.”

Two experts in prostate cancer care said the findings shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

“Physical activity helps all aspects of health,” said Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urology specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “This study reinforces that a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, is one of the few aspects of post-cancer outcome that a patient can control.”

Dr. Manish Vira, of Northwell Health’s Smith Institute for Urology, in New Hyde Park, N.Y., agreed.

The study “adds to the growing body of evidence that regular exercise is associated with better prostate cancer outcomes,” he said. “Multiple studies have shown improvements in other cancers as well, including breast, colon and lung cancer.”

“Regular exercise improves patients’ cardiovascular health, quality of life, and likely, their overall ability to fight disease,” Vira added.

Wang stressed that further research is needed to see if the findings might differ by patient age at diagnosis, weight or smoking.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

In Pictures: Finger Sandwiches

Cream Cheese, Olive and Pecan

Hummus Salad

Grilled Cheese

Shrimp and Cucumber

Spicy Egg and Avocado Salad

Shrimp, Fennel and Taragon

Progress in ‘Precision Prevention’ for Colorectal Cancer

Rachel Tompa wrote . . . . .

Precision medicine’s public face is that of disease — and better treatments for disease through targeted therapies.

But precision medicine has an unsung partner that could affect the lives of many more people: Precision prevention — a reflection of the growing realization that preventing cancer and other diseases may not be one-size-fits-all.

“Precision medicine has been kind of a buzzword recently, but often when people think about precision medicine, they think about treatment,” said Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center biostatistician Dr. Li Hsu, who researches precision prevention for colorectal cancer. “I think it’s just as important if not more important to prevent disease.”

In work presented Monday at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in New Orleans, Hsu and other researchers from Fred Hutch, the University of Michigan and other institutes debuted their latest progress in precision prevention — an in-the-works method to predict risk of colorectal cancer that integrates genetic, lifestyle and environmental risk factors.

This research is not yet ready to move into clinical practice, said Fred Hutch epidemiologist Dr. Ulrike (Riki) Peters, one of the study authors. But it’s the first attempt at combining so many different areas of colorectal cancer risk factors into one comprehensive risk predictor.

Current risk stratification methods for colorectal cancer screening recommendations are based on age and family history alone. No family history of the disease? Start colonoscopies at age 50. Have an immediate relative who had colorectal cancer? Start at age 40.

But these methods are likely missing many at risk, Peters said. Eighty percent of those with colorectal cancer have no known first-degree family history. And, unlike some cancers, it’s a disease where screening and prevention are tightly linked — colonoscopies can catch premalignant lesions and if those lesions are removed, the patient is likely spared from developing cancer.

“That is a very unique aspect of colorectal cancer,” Peters said.

Even though the disease is highly preventable if caught in the precancerous stages, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths (for men and women combined) in the U.S., topped only by lung cancer. So along with encouraging people to get the recommended colonoscopies, a better sieve to catch those at higher risk of the disease could have an impact both on cancer prevention and on sparing those at low risk unnecessary procedures.

“At the end, what we want to do is to reduce disease burden given limited resources,” said Dr. Jihyoun Jeon, a cancer modeler and epidemiologist at the University of Michigan who presented the risk prediction model in a poster at the AACR meeting. “We want to save resources but also prevent as much [disease] as possible.”

Stitching the risk factors together

The improved risk prediction method was developed using data from more than 18,000 people, approximately 8,400 of whom had colorectal cancer. These data come from two large colorectal cancer studies that Peters leads or co-leads, known as the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO) and the Colorectal Transdisciplinary Study (CORECT).

Peters, Hsu and their colleagues have been working for years to identify the genetics behind colorectal cancer. It was always their goal to use that information to improve risk prediction, Hsu said, but only recently has the team amassed enough links between genes and disease to be able to work on the precision prevention piece of the puzzle.

Using 19 known environmental and lifestyle risk factors for the disease and 64 common genetic variants, the statisticians sorted the more than 18,000 people in their dataset along a continuum of high to low risk of colorectal cancer.

Some of the known risk factors for colorectal cancer include smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and diets high in red meat and processed meat, Peters said. Increasing folate, calcium, fruit and vegetable intake and, for some, use of aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce risk of the disease.

Hsu stressed that the model, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute, currently only provides guidance on when to start regular colonoscopies. The researchers haven’t yet addressed the issue of changing the frequency to more or less than what’s currently recommended — every 10 years (for those at average risk) — as building such models requires additional information such as results from previous screenings. After crunching the numbers, their model spat out recommendations that those in the highest 10 percent of risk start screening at age 44 (for men) or 47 (for women), if they do not have any immediate family with colorectal cancer. In the lowest 10 percent, the model recommended starting colonoscopies at 58 for men and 63 for women.

“If someone is at low risk and would not start screening until age 60, that means you would have one less screening during your lifetime,” Hsu said.

The important question, of course, is whether their risk prediction model will catch and prevent more cases of cancer than current guidelines. The researchers don’t yet know. But Peters is hoping to soon launch a new project to address that question by looking at how their model fares in a large community group, to be conducted with researchers from Kaiser Permanente.

It’s hard to predict when their method could show up in the clinic, the researchers said. They need to first validate that it works in another large dataset of study participants, which they’re planning to start soon, using data from the NCI’s Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial.

And they also need to assess whether the tool, which includes genetic testing, would be cost-effective. They have primary data suggesting that it is but need to do more analyses, Peters said. After which, the next step is to study the model’s effectiveness at predicting cancer risk in a randomized clinical trial, she said.

“This is showing the path where we would like to move toward,” Peters said. “Most [high-risk] people don’t know that they have an increased risk. We would like to inform this better by not making this one size fits all.”

Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

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