Patient information

Combination therapy:
Regional Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy

  1. In principle the human immune system fulfills the requirements for fighting cancer cells. Innumerable times malign cells are killed by the immune system in each of our bodies, unnoticed by us. However, in certain circumstances tumor cells succeed in escaping the surveillance of the immune system and proliferate. Through this escape mechanism a tumor develops.
  2. The natural and most effective method combating a tumor is activating the immune system to its ordinary function, that is, attacking the tumor. A personalized immunotherapy alerts the immune system and induces proliferation of body’s own immune cells which then infiltrate the tumor and kill tumor cells.
  3. However, a huge tumor mass has to be reduced by chemotherapy. Immunotherapy with whole tumor vaccination completes the treatment and protects from new tumor growth at the best possible.

Frequently asked questions:

What are the adverse effects?
Rarely, as a side effect of immunotherapy with vaccination fever and fatigue occurs.

What is immunotherapy with a whole tumor personalized vaccine?
Each patient’s tumor is different and has a unique pool of antigens (markers), which can trigger a tumor immune response.  Moreover many of these significant antigens are unique to that tumor only and are not shared among other tumors. These facts highlight the unmet need of personalized medicine.  Immunotherapy with vaccines are a form of personalized medicine, where one can educate the immune system to fight one’s own cancer

With a personalized immunotherapy, the patient’s own tumor or blood is used to create a personalized vaccine, which can educate the immune system to fight one’s own cancer.

Should an immunotherapy be used alone or in combination?
Personalized immunotherapies mount a reasonable immune response in patients, however in advanced cases if one wants to boost this immune responsethe immunotherapy should be combined with chemotherapy or radiotherapy or different immunomodulatory agents that synergize with the vaccine and boosts its efficacy.

What is regional chemo?
Regional chemotherapy (RCT) is chemotherapy restricted to one region of the body or to one organ.  The principle of regional chemotherapy treatment (RCT) is to reduce the size of typically extensive tumours without harming patients. Compared with systemic chemotherapy, RCT mitigates and largely prevents side effects by means of immediate post-treatment detoxification through chemo-filtration. It can result in total tumour regression or a reduction in tumour size, including any regional metastases. Remaining tumours can then be removed by surgery.

Why is immunotherapy and regional chemo therapy a good combination?
Not only does RCT limit the side effects associated with systemic chemotherapy and often melts large tumors but it also induces a local killing effect on the tumor itself releasing all the tumor antigens into the blood system and therefore activating the immune system to against the cancer tissue.

This immune response only lasts for a limited time (a few days) however. The combination of RCT and personalized immunotherapy can ensure that the strong immune response is maintained boosted further, thus giving patients’ immune system a chance to fight their cancer longer term and in-parallel to other treatments regimens.

How is personalized immunotherapy different from other immunotherapies?
Immunotherapy can come in different forms. It could be drug based or cell based. Drug based immunotherapies (with antibodies) activate the immune system without specificity while the treatment offered at medias is first an induction of the immune system through RCT followed by personalized vaccination which induces an immune response against patient’s own antigens, and therefore a completely personalized approach with none or few side effects.