Therapeutic Treatment Procedures

"The primary function of the immune system is to protect the body from itself."

Therapeutic Treatment Procedures The Immune Recovery Centers of America's approach is quite different from that of other clinics. We use immune therapy whenever possible. The lack of popularity of immune therapy in general oncology comes more from the way it is usually employed and not its potential. Approval for all drugs, including those for cancer, comes only after rigorous clinical trials following the guidelines set by regulatory agencies, such as the FDA. They have so far mostly mandated that immune therapy only be tested after failure of conventional chemotherapy. At this point the patient suffers from severe immune depression, a result from both the cancer as well as the prior treatments. Under these conditions it is remarkable that any activity is ever seen. Whenever immune therapy can be used as a first-line treatment, before chemotherapy, radiation or in some cases surgery, it presents a more active face.

The Centers' approach is to first correct the immune deficiencies found in the patient and only then apply other treatment modalities. Usually these patients also require detox, a procedure to remove cellular breakdown products in the blood. Many of our treatment protocols require a functional immune system for optimal activity. Immune restoration is accomplished through high dose ascorbic acid / B-complex vitamins, selected minerals, proprietary use of certain biologicals  (beta glucan, BCG, transfer factor, natural agents) and conventional drugs. This correction alone will often start an immune anti-tumor action.

Once immune correction has been accomplished, the immune system can be stimulated to intensify this activity. This can be done in a variety of ways  using selected cytokines such as Il-2, alpha interferon, tumor necrosis factor, GM colony stimulating factor and others. The goal is to elicit a tumor rejection reaction, similar to a tissue transplant rejection. Older terminology classified this as a delayed hypersensitivity reaction.

Procedures such as anti-cancer vaccines can also be given at this time when deemed appropriate. These immune stimulating procedures often work in concert with vaccines, each augmenting the other.  Several types of vaccines are available, some are made from the patient’s own tissue or blood components, whereas others are generic vaccines produced through use of cancer tissue grown in tissue cultures, such as the Hasumi vaccine. The variable or sometimes lack of activity seen with these vaccines in general clinical settings is most likely the result of their usage in patients that are immuno-suppressed and therefore unable to respond to treatment. We only employ vaccines in immuno-competent or immuno-restored patients.

Dendritic cell therapy utilizes the patient’s blood as a source of cells, which are multiplied by cell culture, antigenically stimulated and then re-infused into the patient. This is another procedure that shows promise, yet for optimal activity it requires a functioning immune system. These procedures have characteristically been available outside the US. When appropriate, we can refer patients to several such clinics.

A procedure which uses the patient’s own lymphocytes (white cells) to produce a natural mixture of cytokines is available at a Mexican clinic but not yet in the U.S. These cytokines are considered more active than the recombinant cytokines mentioned in 2. (above) and closely resemble natural cytokines used in clinical trials, but they are not yet commercially available.

IPT. Conventional chemotherapy is contraindicated with immune therapy because it reduces or blocks the immune activity. However, low doses of a chemotherapeutic agent given more frequently can often be used with immune therapy. The lower dose has little or no effect on the immune system in the short term. In fact, low doses of certain chemotherapeutic agents can actually block the so-called inhibitory arm of the immune system (as production of suppressor T-cells), which is a desired effect with some immune therapy. In order for the chemotherapeutic agent to show good anti-cancer activity it must be used in concert with other agents which in turn boost the anti-cancer effect without increasing immune suppression. One such agent is insulin, and it is used in the so-called Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT). Recent literature suggests that immune therapy (cytokines) also potentiates the activity of chemotherapy agents.