BIOMEDICAL CENTER DE OCCIDENTE is a leader in the field of cancer Adoptive Immuno therapy since 1999. This therapy fights tumors with the person’s own immune system using the combination of Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) and Dendritic Cell (DC´s) vaccines which play a central role in the initiation of immune responses, therefore the best support for anti-tumor Adoptive Immuno therapies. This therapy is useful in the prevention of cancer recurrence after a complete remission, and is ideal in cases of therapy-resistant carcinomas. The use of our innovating therapeutic strategies against tumors and other diseases, is used also for patients who have finished the convencional ortodox, but have the persistent risk of relapse due to minimal residual disease and for patients who have no hope because convencional treatment was unsuccessful or those who choose alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation.
Human cancer comprises more than 200 different diseases. Together, they account for about one fifth of all deaths in the industrialized countries of the Western World. One out of every three person will be treated for a severe cancer in their life-time. Since the incidence of most cancers increases with age, these figures are going to rise, once overall life expectancy continues to increase.
Tumor treatment with conventional medicine involves surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and or a combination of all the above. Hormone therapies and passive antibody transfers are additional options for a few malignancies.
However our innovative immunotherapy for cancer has made rapid progress since the discovery of tumor-associated antigens. BIOMEDICAL CENTER DE OCCIDENTE has developed a new method to obtain mononuclears cells, (T-Cells, monocytes, immature dendritic cells and cancer cells) using a combination of an oral medication; photosensitive agent, with ultra violet light (UV light A), accomplishing two important purposes; activation of specific molecules inducing apoptosis (a gentle way of destroying abnormal cells) while activating the monocytes and T-Cells.
Upon exposure to UVA light, covalent crosslinking of DNA occurs. This ultimately results in the proliferative arrest of the treated cells, UV light favors apoptosis. The monocytes then convert into dendritic cells(DC’s) the cells which initiate immune reactions.
Overnight, the monocytes enter the dendritic cell pathway. DCs have the ability to induce primary T-Cell dependent immune response in vitro and in vivo. This unique feature gives DC’s an important role in controlling immunity.
Immune activation or immunosuppression upon phagocytosis of apoptotic cells is dependent on the maturity of DC’s. The immature dendritic cells and apoptotic malignant cells are then co-cultured over 24 hours with growth factors. This biological product (fresh) will be used the following day intravenously, subcutaneously aliquots of these peptides (tumor-loaded dendritic cells) can then be stored viably in a freezer to be later thawed and administered weekly as maintenance and immunizing anti-tumoral doses. That is, while immature DC induces tolerance, mature DC initiates immune activation. So, in 24 hours we see the evidence of these facts to induce cellular immune responses against associated antigens as a potent immune vaccines, using the host’s own immune system.
Stimulating the inmune system to fight cancer
These biological products are useful in the prevention of cancer recurrence after a complete remission, and are ideal in cases of therapy-resistant carcinomas; for patients who have finished the conventional treatments but have the persistent risk of relapse or some residual disease left behind that have not yet been detected.
This treatment gives the patient a better chance of longer remission as well giving the patient a better quality of life. It also gives hope to those patients who were treated unsuccessfully with conventional treatments.
During each treatment session, the patient rests in a hospital bed, while assisted by an Extracorporeal photopheresis machine (ECP). ECP procedure takes approximately 2 hours per session. The following day, the patient will receive million’s of matured dendritic cell’s DC’s via the subclavicular port that was placed on the very first day of the treatment. This protocol takes about an hour to be completed.
The procedure is safe and easy to perform. It is also tailored to each patient’s need. The primary results are to stop tumoral activity, preserve optimal organ function, and maintain quality of life and prolonged survival. However, each patient is different. Some patients respond successfully while others experience moderate improvements. One of our primary goals is to keep the patient stable and to improve their condition in order to enjoy life. Normally, the patient begins to feel better after the first few sessions. The vaccine is non-toxic and sterile. It is custom prepared from the patient’s own blood. Therefore, many of the side effects-typically associated with cancer treatments are not existent. The patient may experience a slight rise in temperature, some fatigue, and tenderness in the tumor area. Initially, patients receive 8 sessions over a period of three weeks and take home 32 units of vaccinations to be injected subcutaneously once a week for 32 weeks. The patient will then receive quarterly medical follow ups and will be reevaluated by our medical team.