DC’s were first described by Dr. Ralph Steinmann (Nobel Prize of Physiology 2011). First observed in the spleen and peripheral lymph nodes of mice. Soon, similar cells were found in the skin (where they had been previously termed Langer Hans cells), and the liver. DC’s are responsible for identifying pathogens (viruses, fungi, bacteria, malignant cells) and presenting their identifying markers, antigens, to specific T-lymphocytes that then multiply and attack the disease. They are also capable of identifying normal dying cells and to present their antigens to different T-cells that tell the immune system not to attack its own tissue.
DC’s are potent antigen presenting cells (PAPCs) that possess the ability to stimulate naïve T-cells. They are comprised of a system of leukocytes, which are widely distributed in all tissues; especially in those that provide an environmental interface.
Experience has shown that they stimulate formation and activation of macrophages, T-helper cells, and natural killer cells. DC’s play a central role in the initiation of immune responses. Creating possibilities for their use in the development of therapeutic strategies against tumors and other diseases.
During each session of the treatment the patient rests in a hospital bed, while assisted by an extracorporeal photopheresis machine (ECP). ECP procedure takes approximately 2 hours per session, after each session.
The patient leaves the hospital to leisurely enjoy the rest of the day. The following days the patient will receive million’s of matured DC’s via the subclavicular port that was placed on the first day. This takes about an hour. The procedure is safe and easy to perform. And it is 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 improvement. One of our primary goals is to keep the patient stable and to improve their condition. Normally, the patient begins to feel treatment’s positive effects 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 experienced. 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 be receiving quarterly medical follow up and will reevaluated by our medical team.
This treatment gives the patient a better chance of longer remission, giving the patient a better quality of life. This method gives hope to those patients who were treated unsuccessfully with conventional treatments while also opening new alternatives to classical modalities such as chemotherapy and radiation therapies.