Thursday, July 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Doctors use immune therapy against cervical cancer

By
June 04, 2014 |

CHICAGO — Two years ago, Arrica Wallace was riddled with tumors from widely spread cervical cancer that the strongest chemotherapy and radiation could not beat back. Today, the Kansas mother shows no signs of the disease, and it was her own immune system that made it go away.

The experimental approach that helped her is one of the newest frontiers in the rapidly advancing field of cancer immunotherapy, which boosts the body’s natural ways of attacking tumors.

At a conference in Chicago on Monday, doctors also reported extending gains recently made with immune therapies against leukemia and the skin cancer melanoma to bladder, lung and other tumor types.

The cervical cancer experiment was the first time an immune therapy has worked so dramatically against a cancer caused by a virus – HPV. In a pilot study by the National Cancer Institute, the tumors of two out of nine women completely disappeared and those women remain cancer-free more than a year later. That’s far better than any other treatment has achieved in such cases.

Doctors are trying it now against throat, anal and other cancers caused by HPV, the human papillomavirus, and think it holds promise for cancers caused by other viruses, too.

This is “very, very exciting,” said Dr. Don Dizon of Massachusetts General Hospital, a women’s cancer specialist with no role in the study.

Wallace lives in Manhattan, Kansas, west of Topeka, and was 35 when her cervical cancer was discovered. It spread widely, and one tumor was so large it blocked half of her windpipe. Doctors said she had less than a year to live, but with sons aged 8 and 12, “I couldn’t give up,” she said.

She enrolled in the study, and researchers removed one of her tumors, isolated special immune system cells that were attacking it, multiplied them in the lab and gave billions of them back to her in a one-time infusion. They also gave her drugs to boost her immune response – “like Gatorade for the cells,” she said.

“It’s been 22 months since treatment and 17 months of completely clean scans” showing no sign of cancer, Wallace said.

The second woman to have a complete response has been cancer-free for 15 months so far, said one study leader, Dr. Christian Hinrichs of the Bethesda, Maryland-based cancer institute.

“There’s no way to know” if the results will be permanent, he said.

A third woman had tumor shrinkage that lasted three months. The other six women did not respond to treatment and researchers are attempting to determine why.

Doctors are trying the treatment on several dozen more women with advanced cervical cancer and it could someday be offered at many cancer centers the way bone marrow and stem cell transplants are now.

Many private companies are pursuing other treatments that are given like drugs aimed at the immune system. Also discussed at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference:

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s Yervoy, the first immune therapy to improve survival of advanced, inoperable melanoma, also helped prevent recurrence when given to people with earlier stage disease at regular intervals after surgery, a study of nearly 1,000 patients found. But severe side effects caused half to quit treatment, and five people died from it. Doctors think a lower dose might minimize these problems. The drug also costs more than $100,000 for initial treatment, so long-term cost is a concern.
  • Nivolumab, an experimental therapy from Bristol-Myers, extended survival by 3 1/2 years on average when given with Yervoy to people with very advanced melanoma, far better than any previous treatments. Nine of 53 patients treated had complete remissions.
  • Merck & Co.’s experimental therapy pembrolizumab gave one-year survival rates of about 69 percent in a study of 411 patients with very advanced melanoma, including many previously treated with Yervoy.
  • Genentech’s experimental immune therapy for bladder cancer shrank tumors in 13 of 30 patients with advanced bladder cancer for which there are hardly any treatment options now. All signs of cancer disappeared in two patients.

Immune therapy struggled for years with just occasional small gains, but “now we have cruise missiles” giving better kill rates against many tumor types, said Dr. Steven O’Day of the University of Southern California.

Others tempered their enthusiasm, noting that some promising approaches produced more limited gains once they were more fully researched.

“Let’s not forget the history” of what seems like progress with a new approach, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. “It doesn’t always work out the way it appears to be heading.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Artists with trowels transform highway wall

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Bertani schedules town hall meet

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
 
County court employees rally against cuts, furloughs

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 11 Comments | Gallery

Crews to begin Vacaville slurry seal street project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

 
2nd candidate eyes Vacaville mayoral run

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

Vacaville police arrest fugitive Dezmon Frazier

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
 
Sesame Street USO tour visits Travis

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Carranza | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: July 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Weather for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: July 21, 2013

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Lawsuit tests racial policy at California prisons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Honduran families deported back to a bleak future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

.

Opinion

Is Logue tripping over words?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Watch out for Bobby Jindal

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A7

 
Rick Perry’s contradiction

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Good men lost due to Bergdahl

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

I resent my husband for not defending me to his mother

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for July 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Filmmaker Michael Moore’s divorce is finalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

CBS says Colbert keeping CBS’ ‘Late Show’ in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
CBS event marks civil rights anniversary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Cespedes hits 2 HRs, A’s hold off Astros 9-7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Big innings fuels 16-1 Expos victory in Area 1 opener

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders start to arrive for start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

 
Tight end Vernon Davis arrives at 49ers training camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pence drives in 3, Giants beat Phillies 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
4 Cities to meet with USOC about 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Testimony ends in trial over $2B Clippers sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Playful Pole wins Tour stage, as Nibali marches on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mavericks’ Felton pleads guilty in NYC gun case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles reach deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Seattle’s Sidney Rice announces his retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Broncos owner giving up control due to Alzheimer’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

GM issues 6 more safety recalls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Joseph Ross Smith Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9