Thursday, April 2, 2015
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

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Vallejo youth wins county spelling bee

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Records detail shooting victim’s court history

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 40 Comments | Gallery

     
    25th annual Rush Ranch Open House on April calendar

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2

     
     
    Saturday Club schedules Shower of Flowers event

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

    Searchers find 84-year-old missing nearly a day

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    Symphony opportunity, scholarships available

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

     
    Free Healthier Living workshops begin this week

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

     
    Music teachers receive program grants

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

    Workshops offer information on child support process

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

     
     
    Group plans Haiti missions fundraisers

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    Travel presentation ready to roll in Vacaville

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

    Vallejo woman hit, killed by vehicle

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

     
    Helen Mirren film set for debut

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9 | Gallery

    Frazier to deliver keynote at Solano EDC event

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10

     
    WIB to host regional career fair

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    Fairfield police log: March 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

     
    Suisun City police log: March 29, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

    Suisun City police log: March 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

     
    Man struck by car, injured

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

    Fairfield police log: March 29, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

     
    .

    US / World

     
     
    3D print technology provides ‘robohand’ to 7-year-old girl

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Endangered bighorn sheep moved to Yosemite, Sequoia parks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Family: Man dead at Hollywood Hills home is Andrew Getty

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Tuskegee Airman Leslie A. Williams dies in California at 95

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Dress-wearing man killed by NSA police had lengthy record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Exercising critically ill patients may help speed recovery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Defense rests in 1st phase of Boston Marathon bombing trial

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    Woman charged with stabbing boyfriend after salsa argument

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Police: Prisoner who stole gun, fled hospital found in DC

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    Transportation strike shuts down Argentina

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

     
    Nigerian troops prevent Boko Haram attacks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

    Iran nuke talks extend past deadline

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

     
    Relief program paid millions for ‘flawed’ work

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Buhari defeats Goodluck Jonathan in Nigerian election

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: April 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in history: April 1, 2015

    By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: A2

    Should we sent wedding invitations to relatives we know can’t come?

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

     
    Horoscopes: April 1, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

    Dressing up spring asparagus with an easy brown butter sauce

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
     
    .

    Entertainment

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

     
    ‘General Hospital’ leads Daytime Emmy nominations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    Olympic champ Gabby Douglas’ family to get reality show

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Sports

    Randle sets record, leads Stanford past ODU in NIT semis

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Vanden’s Orme strikes out 16, tosses no-hitter

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

    Prep boys golf preview: All 4 city teams are young

    By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1

     
    Short-handed Miami rallies to beat Temple 60-57 in NIT semis

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Michigan State title would be worth $1 million to Vegas man

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    AP study projects average MLB salary tops $4M

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    University of North Dakota begins campaign to find nickname

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Judge rules Ernie Banks will is valid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kentucky’s platoon system gives way to traditional rotation

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Chris Mullin returns home to coach St. John’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Soccer player at center of search killed crossing LA freeway

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Frozen Four will be old home week for BU coach David Quinn

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Rio Olympic tickets go on sale despite football uncertainty

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Tiger Woods plays practice round at Augusta

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    US gives up another late goal in 1-1 tie at Switzerland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    NASCAR finds Ryan Newman’s race team for manipulated tires

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Patriots owner: Aaron Hernandez told me he was innocent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Raiders release DT Antonio Smith

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Tennessee hires former Texas coach Rick Barnes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Thunder star Kevin Durant has bone graft surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey showing off versatility

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    NASCAR driver Kyle Larson released from hospital

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Barry Zito’s scoreless streak ends; A’s beat Angels 13-10

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Cubs will track noise so Wrigley rehab doesn’t disturb fans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Lincecum pitches into 6th in Giants’ win over Rockies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    AP’s Run to the Roses: Mubtaahij No. 8; Dortmund still No. 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Business

    San Bruno supports higher fine

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    Google to release their cheapest laptop yet

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10, 2 Comments

    Several charged in Medicaid shoe fraud

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10, 4 Comments

     
    Fast food organizers expand their campaign

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10, 2 Comments

    Online craft retailer Etsy preps for IPO

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    Many trucks being driven beyond designed top speed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Buffet expected to buy dealerships

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Gordon Davis

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Carlos Penados

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7