New treatment a ‘huge milestone’ in curing cancer

Most likely, someone in your life has been affected by cancer.

In a moment, their lives get turned upside-down. They must immediately go into battle with this dreaded disease that takes so many lives every year.

Arguably the hardest and most-grueling part of this journey for many people with cancer is chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are brutal, "scorched-earth" affairs. But they remain the go-to treatment options for many patients.

Cancer cells are slightly — but not much — more susceptible to the havoc they wreak than the rest of the body. But the side effects of chemotherapy can be devastating. That’s because it can cause new diseases in the body to emerge, sometimes leading to death.

But last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first time approved a single treatment that can intelligently target cancer cells while leaving healthy ones alone, and simultaneously stimulate the immune system to fight the cancer itself.

The treatment is called T-VEC (talimogene laherparepvec) but will be sold under the brand name Imlygic.

T-VEC is injected directly into a cancerous tumor. It uses a modified virus to hunt cancer cells in what experts say is an important and significant step in the battle against the deadly disease.

Developed by the Massachusetts-based biotech company BioVex, T-VEC uses a special modified version of the herpes virus.

Current treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy kill cancer cells and also damage the rest of the body. But these targeted viruses can be programmed to attack only cancer cells, leaving patients to suffer the equivalent of just a day or two’s flu.

Stephen Russell, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, specializes in oncolytic virotherapy — as these treatments are known. Dr. Russell said the FDA’s clearance of Imlygic represents "a huge milestone" in cancer treatment development.

Researchers are fine-tuning ways to kill cancer cells with viruses.

Treatments such as T-VEC directly attack the cancer cells and then trigger the body’s immune response to dispose of the virus itself and other rouge cancer cells.

An incredible phenomenon researchers are observing with this treatment is its ability to target all cancerous tumors in the body, not just at the site of injection.

What appears to be happening, one researcher said, is that the body’s immune system seems to "wake up" to the presence of all tumors in the body — even those that were not injected with the virus.

The goal of these types of targeted cancer-hunting treatments is to completely eliminate the use of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other archaic forms of cancer treatments.

Russell is hopeful that Imlygic represents "a first step in the direction of a complete change in the game" in how we treat cancer.

"We can’t prematurely claim that we’ve achieved our ultimate goal, because we haven’t; this really is a single step along that path," he said. "But it’s a very important and very significant step."

A very significant step indeed. This type of treatment promises to not only improve the way we treat cancer, but also vastly improve the quality of life of the patient as they undergo treatment.

Happy and healthy investing,

Brad Hoppmann

Your thoughts on “New treatment a ‘huge milestone’ in curing cancer”

  1. Interesting article. I read about another treatment similar to this over the weekend. My father, age 67, was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor. Any suggestions on effictive treatment for him would be very appreciated.

  2. My wife has just been recently told that she has Cancer in her Liver that is non operable and her Doctor said there is nothing that can be done except Chemo to slow it down. I pray that new drug may be answer that can help save her life. May I please get any additional information possible that can help her. God Bless and Thank You.

  3. Will medical insurance cover the expense of this medication? Is it covered under Medicare? Great prospects for treatment but unless it is a covered medical benefit then who will be able receive treatment.

  4. Also a cancer survivor–Caught in initial phases–surgery to remove completely. No radiation or chemo–I read the proposed “treatment”–said I would have to be stark, raving mad to say yes to such potential damage to my immune system. Trusted young, very astute surgeon and also studied spontaneous healing cases, before and after surgery. Taking very good care now–probiotics a plus. Young people delivered by caesarian need to know the truth about their natural immune system having been shorted at birth. Many, many times “natural” is best, if not only way forward.

  5. Brad,
    Thank you for posting this encouraging article – we always look forward to reading your health updates. Below is another innovative cancer treatment that looks very promising.
    Have a wonderful Christmas!
    Trojan Technology Used to Destroy Cancer Cells:
    BioSight has figured out a way to fool cancer cells into allowing themselves to be killed off – without harming normal cells
    BioSight’s “Trojan horse” chemo technology doesn’t only work for leukemia patients, said Ben Yakar. “We believe it will be effective in many other kinds of cancer as well. It’s a matter of finding the amino acid that a specific cancer is ‘allergic’ to, and packaging it in a structure that the cancer cell thinks contains material that strengthens it, while in reality it contains material that destroys it.”
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-start-up-uses-trojan-horse-technology-to-kill-cancer-cells/

  6. Since almost everyone in my family dies of cancer, at about age 90, I am interested in these therapies. Unfortunately, many therapies, for almost every disease, are similar to using a howitzer to kill a mouse. I am presently treating a tooth abscess with an antibiotic, nuking my entire body to treat an area the size of a grain of rice. Horay for targeted treatments!!!

  7. Brad please email your article and some info on this new treatment. I just started chemo for pancreatic cancer after surviving it for 2 years. Thanks so much.

  8. Brad, thanks again for another interesting article. You seem to have an inside track on new medical developments. There is another proven cancer fighter that is not well-known in America. It is Proton Radiation Therapy. I am amoung over 13,000 prostate cancer patients who have been successfully treated at Loma Linda Medical Center in California for prostate cancer. They have a 15 year clinical study that shows that less than 1% of those 13,000 patients treated with Proton Radiation have had any side effects from this incredibly effective treatment. That is compared to 20% to 40% of patients with significant side effects who have had other forms of treatment-the most popular one being surgical removal of the prostate gland. Most common side affects of these other treatments are impotence and/or incontinence for the remainder of one’s life. All such patients who had prostate surgery have a painfull recovery lasting a month or more. PROTON therapy patients, on the other hand, have no recovery period at all, and in fact, are encouraged to exercise regularly throughout their PROTON radiation treatments. I actually got in the best shape of my life while at Loma Linda.
    Radiation treatment is the second most popular treatment for Prostate Cancer. PROTON RADIATION, compared to “normal radiation” that uses PHOTONS, does not damage surrounding tissue, and is much more effective at destroying cancer cells, and leaving all surrounding healthy tissue unharmed. Basically, PROTONS are unusual in that they zap the precise area where the cancer is, expending all the radiation energy only at that site-this phenonmena is called the Brag Peak. Normal PHoton radiation, on the other hand, burns all the tissue from the moment it touches the body, burns all the way to the site of the cancer, and continues through the body where it continues to burn all tissue and finally exits the body. The finest Cancer treatment centers in the US have built these PROTON Radiation Centers- places like MD Anderson, Scripps , Massachusetts General, UCLA Med Center, and recently the Mayo Clinic.
    You might ask, If this is such a succesful painless treatment, why isn’t it more well known? Unfortunately, Urologists do not like to mention this treatment, because Prostate cancer surgery is how they make their big bucks. There are only 9 Proton Radiation Centers in the US, however 9 more are being built now. Proton Radiation is also used to treat 44 other types of cancer, especially in children who have cancer tumors of the eye and brain, where precision is critical. Recently Breast Cancer has been treated successfully with Proton Radiation. Pharmaceutical campanies also make millions selling Chemotherapy drugs, so they try to make sure Dr.s they serve recommend Chemotherapy rather than Proton Radiation. Once a cancer has spread, then Proton Radiation cannot be used, as it targets a particular area, and is therefore called “pencil beam” Proton Radiation. (feel free to edit this- or research Proton Radiation yourself and let your readers know about it! Loma Linda Medical Center was the first in the US to use this treatment, beginning in 1990)

  9. Brad: Thank you for updating us on the latest breakthroughs and giving hope to those who are facing a battle with cancer. Our prayers go out to you and them! God bless.

  10. What are the down sides, so far all of the Pharmacological methods/methods/drugs have had a dastardly effect on the human body?

  11. Thank you so much, for bringing this news. My sister and husband are cancer survivors, but as we all know, it can return. Good to read about new treatments, maybe some day, we will hear about the end of cancer. Someday.

  12. We appreciate you bringing your findings in intelligent health nurturing t our attention, Brad. We agree with you that this advance is a significant step, indeed. We certainly take issue with Russel’s characterization of it as “a first step.”
    Ligand nanoparticle components have been used to recognize and attach chemotherapy toxins to the surface markers of cancer cells the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
    Cancema, Amazon, and other variations of bloodroot “black salve” have long been using a natural herbal substances to likewise flag surface markers of cancer cells – alerting the body’s own natural defenses to target and recycle those renegade proteins to better uses.
    While GMO experiments like the one you seem to be describing may be better in degree than the frankly brutal, medieval allopathic cancer treatments that are currently draining billions of dollars and trillions of happy hours from our loved ones and neighbors, they are similar in kind.

  13. This is wonderful my son in law is presently being treated , at Mayo for prostrate cancer that has gone to the bone . not doing well on present treatment , hormones,radiation and chemo. Don’t know if he would be a candidate but I pray for a miracle for him . he is only early fifties , is such a kind ,good man. has had a hard life from childhood . always trying to help his fellow man .His name is Steve Dickman.from Belmond Iowa .

  14. What good is this procedure if ordinary people cannot afford it? My chemo treatments 6 years ago were $12,500 each (I had 4). Fortunately I also had an AFLAC Cancer policy that was enough to cover what my insurance didn’t. Now I am on Medicare with a medical plan that doesn’t cover any medications. How much will this new procedure cost? Something needs to be done to control the cost of new drugs, otherwise, why bother?

  15. TapImmune, TPIV, of Jacksonville, FL, also has new anti-cancer technology. Developed at Mayo Clinic.

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