Thursday, June 22, 2017

Immunotherapy for Prostate cancer

Hey Awesomites

Immunotherapy is now an emerging and much promising intervention in the treatment of prostate cancer, apart from the traditional cancer treatments - chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.


Approach for immunotherapy -

1. Individualised medicine: The physician removes the patient's immune cells and does genetic modification to recombine the modified genes with cancer- killing properties. The altered cells are then introduced back into the patient's blood stream with the hopes that they will now multiply and fight off cancer cells to completely destroy the wild carcinogenics.

2. Checkpoint blocking medications: Cytotoxic T- lymphocyte checkpoint blockade by the use of anti- CTLA4 and PD- 1 monoclonal antibodies, ( particularly when combined with androgen deprivation therapy or radiation ) blocks the point of cancer cell that works to inhibit the immune system, preventing it from fighting back against the cancer.

However, due to "supercharging" of the immune system, the killer cells may attack body's own healthy tissues ( self destruction ) that can result in inflammation in any organ of the body- the prostate, intestines, liver, lungs, kidneys, etc. Therefore, approval of such drugs has been limited by the US-FDA.


Methodology -
The patient's blood is taken and WBCs are removed out of the sample for enhancement. These cells are exposed to a protein called prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) which is made by prostate cancer cells. So these enhanced cells now adapt themselves to learn how to kill cancer cells more effectively.

Once they are trained, a US-FDA approved medication- Provenge (sipuleucel- T) in vaccine form is infused intravenously to men with prostate cancer, usually every 2 weeks for upto 6 weeks.

This therapy does not cure cancer, but it has a good prognosis.


Indications -
Immunotherapy with this drug is not recommended in every case of prostate cancer. Only the cases in which
- Cancer has spread beyond the prostate
- Hormone - resistant prostate cancer
- Asymptomatic cases/ metastatic castrate- resistant prostate cancer.

Though it has been approved on the basis of extensive research, several other trials are going on to spread the branches of immunotherapy in the treatment of Ca prostate in men.


Thats all
- Jaskunwar Singh

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