New Study Reveals Many Cancer Patients Are Killed By Chemotherapy & Not The Cancer


  • Up until recently, chemotherapy and radiation have been the only two approved treatment methods for treating cancer by mainstream medicine, but as more research emerges, light is being shed on just how damaging these treatment methods can be and how often they are the cause of death and not the cancer itself. Upon this discovery, many doctors are starting to see how this is not always the best treatment method.

Researchers from Public Health England and Cancer Research UK recently performed a groundbreaking study, which examined the number of cancer patients who died within 30 days of beginning chemotherapy showing how the treatment, and not the cancer itself, was the cause of death.

When looking at those death rates across hospitals in the U.K., the researchers found an alarming mortality rate that was directly associated with the chemotherapy treatment.

“England around 8.4 per cent of patients with lung cancer, and 2.4 per cent of breast cancer patients died within a month,” the Telegraph reported.

“But in some hospitals the figure was far higher. In Milton Keynes the death rate for lung cancer treatment was 50.9 per cent, although it was based on a very small number of patients.”

Results of the study showed the one-month mortality rate at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals for those undergoing palliative, rather than curative chemotherapy was 28%. One in five patients receiving palliative care for breast cancer at Cambridge University Hospitals died from treatment.

In other areas including, Blackpool, Coventry, Derby, South Tyneside, Surrey, and Sussex, saw that deaths from lung cancer patients receiving chemotherapy were much higher than the national average.

Cancer Lead for Public Health England, Dr. Jem Rashbass, requested the study and said, according to the Telegraph: “Chemotherapy is a vital part of cancer treatment and is a large reason behind the improved survival rates over the last four decades.”

“However, it is powerful medication with significant side effects and often getting the balance right on which patients to treat aggressively can be hard.”

“Those hospitals whose death rates are outside the expected range have had the findings shared with them and we have asked them to review their practice and data.”

All women with breast cancer and all men and women with lung cancer residing in England, who were 24 years older and who started a cycle” of chemotherapy in 2014 were included in the analysis by the researchers of the study.

Could This Signify The End Of Chemo?

Finally, chemotherapy has been looked at with a skeptical eye, had this been studied sooner, it is easy to see how this method of treatment cannot distinguish between healthy cells and cancerous cells, therefore there are more ideal patients for this method of treatment and less ideal patients. The study published by the Lancet shows how the cell destroying property of chemo can eventually lead to death as there aren’t enough healthy cells to survive.

Because of these important findings, researchers have now advised physicians to exercise more caution in the process of vetting which patients should in fact receive chemotherapy and which, ideally should not. Older, infirm patients could potentially be better off without receiving palliative care.

“The statistics don’t suggest bad practice overall but there are some outliers,” noted Professor David Dodwell of the Institute of Oncology at St. James Hospital in Leeds.

“It could be data problems, and figures skewed because of just a few deaths, but nevertheless it could also be down to problems with clinical practice,” he continued.

“I think it’s important to make patients aware that there are potentially life threatening downsides to chemotherapy. And doctors should be more careful about who they treat with chemotherapy.”

It’s important to realize that doctors aren’t intending to harm their patients by prescribing this method of treatment, this is what they have been taught during their extensive years of schooling and education, this is the curriculum, so it’s the widely accepted treatment method for cancer even though it often doesn’t help at all and can make things worse as mentioned above.

The hospitals involved maintain their stance, after reviewing the information that chemotherapy is safe, with the caveat patient selection for the treatment should be more discretionary. Chemo does seem to work for many, but there is a more ideal patient for this method and it shouldn’t be prescribed to every cancer patient that walks through the door.

Professor David Cameron of the Edinburgh Cancer Centre at West General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, noted,

“The concern is that with some of the patients dying within 30 days of being given chemo probably shouldn’t have been given the chemo. But how many? There is no easy way to answer that, but perhaps looking at those places/hospitals where the death rate was higher might help. Furthermore, if we give less chemo then some patients will die because they didn’t get enough chemo. It’s a fine balance and the more data we have the better we can be t making sure we get the balance right. “

U.S. Doctors, Take Note

Unfortunately, in the United States many patients are forced to undergo chemotherapy despite what they want for themselves. This has happened with many children whose parents are opting to seek out alternative cancer treatments.

One example involves, 17-year-old Cassandra C., who has Hodgkin lymphoma, has been denied her desire to pursue alternative treatment methods when it comes to her cancer treatment. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled, on January 8th, that Cassandra (who declined chemotherapy treatment) will be forced to undergo the treatment anyway. She cited chemotherapy’s adverse health effects as her main reason for refusing.

Cassandra expressed that being forced into surgery and chemo has traumatized her, that it should be a given human right to decide what you want and don’t want for your own body.

Alternatives?

The most frustrating part about this whole thing is that there are in fact many alternative methods to treating cancer that are not recognized, accepted or provided with enough funding for thorough studies to be considered as an option in the first place.

Successful alternative methods that have been used to treat cancer is an entirely separate topic that involves a lot of research, but success has been reported using vegan methods, fasting methods, and more. Clinical trials have been conducted in these areas, but we don’t hear much about it. The science on this that’s emerging is fascinating, and we encourage all who are interested to look into it a little deeper if interested.

Below is a great clip from The THRIVE movement that gives us all something to thing about.

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Ginger tea: Dissolves Kidney Stones, Cleanses Liver & Obliterates Cancer Cells (Recipe)


One of the most health-beneficial plants on earth – ginger, is abundant in medicinal properties, among which it reduces inflammation, stimulates digestion and boosts immunity.

Ginger owes its flavor and aroma to several different essential oils: gingerol, shogaol and zingerone. These agents have really powerful anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial effects, which can ease pain, improve cardiovascular health, relieve asthma, strengthen immunity, and stimulate digestion among others.

Ginger Tea Benefits

Ginger tea is an amazing remedy for treatment of sore muscles, common cold, flu and headaches. This drink can actually destroy the virus causing influenza, cold sores and common colds.

In addition, only a cup of tea each day can considerably lower your risk of stroke due to the fact that ginger dissolves fat deposits which in fact block the arteries.

Moreover, due to ginger’s thermogenic properties, this vegetable has the ability to improve blood circulation and the delivery of oxygen, minerals and vitamins to the cells in the body.

Plus, the high content of antioxidants successfully eliminates infections and improves the immune system.

Ginger Tea Preparation

Ingredients:

Instructions:
This tea-making process is really simple. After adding the turmeric and ginger in boiling water, lower the heat and then let it simmer for 7-10 min.

Add the coconut milk and strain the tea into a cup. Improve your tea flavor by adding some organic honey. Enjoy one of the healthiest drinks there is!

Do Cellphones Cause Cancer?


The question of whether cellphones can cause cancer became a popular one after the dramatic increase in cell phone use since the 1990s. Scientists’ main concern is that cell phones can increase the risk of brain tumors or other tumors in the head and neck area – and as of now, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer.

Cell phones give off a form of energy known as radiofrequency (RF) waves. They are at the low-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum – as opposed to the higher-energy end where X-rays exist – and they emit a type of non-ionizing radiation. In contrast to ionizing radiation, this type does not cause cancer by damaging DNA in cells, but there is still a concern that it could cause biological effects that result in some cancers.

However, the only consistently recognizable biological effect of RF energy is heat. The closer the phone is to the head, the greater the expected exposure is. If RF radiation is absorbed in large enough amounts by materials containing water, such as food, fluids, and body tissues, it produces this heat that can lead to burns and tissue damage. Still, it is unclear whether RF waves could result in cancer in some circumstances.

An iPhone.

Many factors affect the amount of RF energy a person is exposed to, such as the amount of time spent on the phone, the model of the phone, and if a hands-free device or speaker is being used. The distance and path to the nearest cell phone tower also play a role. The farther a way a person is from the tower, the more energy is required to get a good signal on the phone. The same is true of areas where many people are using their phones and excess energy is required to get a good signal.

RF radiation is so common in the environment that there is no way to completely avoid it. Most phone manufacturers post information about the amount of RF energy absorbed from the phone into the user’s body, called the specific absorption rate (SAR), on their website or user manual. Different phones have different SARs, so customers can reduce RF energy exposure by researching different models when shopping for a phone. The highest SAR in the U.S. is 1.6 watts/kg, but actual SAR values may vary based on certain factors.

Studies have been conducted to find a possible link between cell phone use and the development of tumors. They are fairly limited, however, due to low numbers of study participants and risk of recall bias. Recall bias can occur when individuals who develop brain tumors are more predisposed to recall heavier cell phone use than those who do not, despite lack of true difference. Also, tumors can take decades to develop, and given that cell phones have only been in use for about 20 years, these studies are unable to follow people for very long periods of time. Additionally, cell phone use is constantly changing.

Outside of direct studies on cell phone use, brain cancer incidence and death rates have changed little in the past decade, making it even more difficult to pinpoint if cell phone use plays a role in tumor development.

Source:http://www.dana-farber.org

 

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New research: fruit extract may cause cancer cells to kill themselves


A University of Windsor anti-cancer crusader may have discovered his most effective agent yet — a fruit that causes evil cells to commit suicide.

Dr. Siyaram Pandey, known for promising work on dandelion root extract, is thrilled with results from his initial research on long pepper fruit.

“It is very potent, which is surprising, actually,” said Pandey. “I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say it’s a little bit better than dandelion root extract.”

Pandey led a group of researchers, who published their long pepper paper in the November edition of the scholarly journal PLOS One. Pandey’s team included Pamela Ovadje, Dennis Ma, Phillip Tremblay, Alessia Roma and Matthew Steckle, as well as John Thor Arnason from the University of Ottawa.

. Dr. Siyaram Pandey, a professor at the University of Windsor conducts research on cancer-fighting agents. He displays a long pepper which has shown significant progress in killing cancer cells. (DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star)
 Dr. Siyaram Pandey, a professor at the University of Windsor conducts research on cancer-fighting agents. He displays a long pepper which has shown significant progress in killing cancer cells. A compound from the long pepper fruit was first identified in the 1960s, but was then forgotten for decades until researchers at Howard University in Boston published a paper in 2011. The Bostonians screened 25,000 compounds for possible cancer-fighting properties and listed piper longum — or long pepper — at the top.

“So we asked the question, if they showed a single compound has activity from long pepper, why don’t we test the total extract from long pepper fruit?” asked Pandey. “We’re finding out that there are many more compounds present in the extract and they might be working in synergy against the cancer cells.”

The extract was produced with the help of alcohol, which was then evaporated away, leaving a powder that holds great promise. Clinical trials still need to be conducted, however, which Pandey says is the next hurdle: finding funding to go forward.

He’s proud, however, that the long pepper fruit research so far was all locally funded, thanks to donations from Seeds 4 Hope, Pajama Angels, the Knights of Columbus, and the family of Kevin Couvillion, who died in 2010 at the age of 26 after a three-year battle with myeloid leukemia.

Pandey has also attracted support in the past from the Toronto-based Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation, which funds research into natural health products and their effectiveness in treating lymphoma.

The beauty of natural products is they aren’t as toxic as traditional cancer treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

“One of the major struggles with cancer therapy is whatever we use to kill cancer cells also kills healthy cells, which is a very bad side effect,” Pandey said.

 Dr. Siyaram Pandey, a professor at the University of Windsor conducts research on cancer-fighting agents. Shown are long peppers which have shown promise in killing cancer cells. (DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star)
Llong peppers have shown promise in killing cancer cells.

The long pepper fruit extract, however, seems to do a remarkable thing: trick cancer cells into cutting off their own energy. It leads to cancer apoptosis. In other words, suicide. Best of all, healthy cells just continue on as happy as you please.

“It’s difficult to imagine that after 50 or 60 years of research we still don’t have a selective drug,” Pandey said. “So with the long pepper fruit, we are very excited. We feel the extract targets multiple things and forces the cell to commit suicide.”

Everyone has this plant but NOBODY knows that it makes cancer cells disintegrate within 48 hours


Back in 2009, a group of Canadian researchers from the University of Windsor in Ontario started looking at an abundant weed as a cure for cancer.

It all started when an oncologist came across something quite interesting with some cancer patients.  Believe it or not, the plant we are talking about is the common dandelion!

A post-doctoral fellow at the University of Windsor named Pamela Ovadje has done an extensive work on the topic. She dealt with the anti-cancer properties of dandelion and similar extracts.

This Plant Extract Forces Cancer Cells to Commit Suicide in 24 Hours!

According to Ovadje,

We had information from an oncologist, a collaborator here in Windsor, who had patients that showed improvement after taking dandelion root tea. And so, with a phone call, we decided to start studying what was in this tea that made patients respond to it, so we started digging up dandelions.

She was quite suspicious in the beginning, but not because it was an all-natural source.I figured dandelions are everywhere, and if there was something to it, people would have found this out already,– she explained.

We should be glad to hear that the researchers have started conducting studies on dandelion root extract and its effects on cancer, as the results are more than amazing!

Since the commencement of this project, we have been able to successfully assess the effect of a simple water extract of dandelion root in various human cancer cell types in the lab and we have observed its effectiveness against human T-cell leukemia, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, and pancreatic and colon cancers, with no toxicity to non-cancer cells. Furthermore, these efficacy studies have been confirmed in animal models (mice) that have been transplanted with human colon cancer cells.”

Dandelion root extract was approved for human trials in February 2015. Now, it is in Phase 1 trials for end-stage blood-related cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma.

According to Dr. Siyaram Pandey, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Windsor and principal research investigator for the project, dandelion root extract has quite a “good potential” to cause a death of cancer cells.

How Does it Work?

This extract causes cancer cells to go through apoptosis, a natural cell process where a cell activates an intracellular death program because it isn`t needed anymore. In brief, dandelion root extract causes the cancer cell to “commit suicide” without affecting the healthy ones.

Two cells perform apoptosis which is far better than chemotherapy drugs which kill one healthy cell for every 5 to 10 cancer cell, the dandelion extract.

apoptosis

It is important to mention that the concentration of this extract is much higher than the one which is currently available. Even though trials are still underway, this extract may be the future of cancer treatment!

If you would like to learn more about this, check out the following video.  Dr. Siyaram Pandey’s explains how dandelion root causes the death of cancer cells within 24 hours.

Watch the video. URL:

New Chemo-free treatment uses body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells


Image: New Chemo-free treatment uses body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells

With any kind of luck, chemotherapy’s days as one of the leading cancer treatments will be over soon. A new, revolutionary therapy is on the horizon. Researchers have announced that this breakthrough treatment would utilize the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells — a huge improvement over toxic chemo.

Natural News  reports that scientists from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, located in New York, claim to have successfully experimented with the new treatment. Sixteen people with advanced leukemia that had run out of alternatives volunteered to be part of their experiment and underwent what the researchers have dubbed “targeted T cell therapy.” Miraculously, the therapy actually eliminated cancerous cells in most of the patients.

Dr. David Agus, a CBS News expert contributor who leads the Westside Cancer Center at the University of Southern California has called the team’s work “remarkable.”

The study’s senior author, Dr. Renier Brentjens, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering, is very confident about their findings and hopeful for the future. Dr. Brentjens told  HealthDay News, “ First and foremost, we’ve shown that this isn’t a fluke. This is a reliable result.” Though he notes that the research is budding, he believes that it is quite a promising beginning.

Of the 16 patients who participated in the study, 14 were able to reach total remission. Aggressive leukemia is known for coming back if patients do not undergo a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, patients cannot undergo the transplant until the cancer cells have been eliminated from their bloodstream.

However, the new targeted T cell therapy yielded amazing results and most of the patients saw their blood become cancer-free, allowing them to finally undergo bone marrow transplants. After receiving a transplant, patients can actually be cured of the disease.

It just goes to show that you don’t need poison to cure an illness. And in fact, it’s probably much better if you don’t even attempt such a method. Prevention is still one of the best cancer treatments, of course, and keeping to a healthy die t and lifestyle is the best way you can fight cancer before it starts.

Breakthrough new cancer treatment destroys 95% of cancer cells in tumors in mice in 2 hours.


A highly effective cancer treatment has been developed by Matthew Gdovin, an associate professor in the UTSA Department of Biology.  The treatment involves the injection of a chemical compound, nitrobenzaldehyde, into tumor cells and inducing their death.

“Even though there are many different types of cancers, the one thing they have in common is their susceptibility to this induced cell suicide,” said Gdovin.  “All forms of cancer attempt to make cells acidic on the outside as a way to attract the attention of a blood vessel,” he said.  Once the cancer cells attach to a blood vessel, they use it to grow the tumor.

This treatment sees the nitrobenzaldehyde injected into cancerous cells.  From there, ultraviolet light is shined onto the cells, causing them to become more acidic.  Eventually, they become so acidic that they destroy themselves.  The cancer is decimated, while the healthy cells are left untouched.

When treated, 95% of the cancer cells are destroyed, mice have tumor growth halted and their chance of survival was doubled.

Gdovin also shows that this treatment can help destroy cancer in hard-to-reach areas, like the brain stem.

 

“There are so many types of cancer for which the prognosis is very poor,” he said. “We’re thinking outside the box and finding a way to do what for many people is simply impossible.”

Science Finally Explains How Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells And it’s amazing


Only recently we had published an article explaining how scientists at the National Institute of Health (NIH) have found cannabis to be a potential killer of cancer cells. You can read the article here.

On that note, we’re going to talk about a scientific explanation that supports the NIH claim: “cannabis and cannabinoids may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer therapies.”

A molecular biologist, Dr Christina Sanchez, at the Compultense University in Madrid (Spain) spells out the exact mechanism at work, wherein the THC – “the main psychoactive constitute of the cannabis plant” – completely destroys the cancer cells.

Lab testing of cannabis

Cannabinoids is a group of compounds that comprise cannabinol and the active components of cannabis. These bring the cannabinoid receptors in our body alive. Dr Sanchez explains how our body itself produces endocannabinoids that activate various processes within, “creating a healthy environment”. According to her, it’s important to note that cannabis has the potential to kill anything cancerous, without giving birth to any psychoactive effects.

Cannabis kills cancer cells

Because cannabinoids aid towards strengthening the immune system, these have proven instrumental in killing cancer cells. There are instances to prove that cancer patients have registered a health boost by using cannabis as part of their treatment, in a short span of time.

The necessary ingredient, cannabinoid, however can’t be supplied into our systems through smoking. According to Dr Sanches, using the plant works best when it’s eaten or when its oil is extracted. It’s also important to note here that cannabis still has some ground to cover before it can rub shoulders with chemotherapy.

Drugs Go Under Cover as Platelets to Destroy Cancer


  • Scientists say they have for the first time developed a technique that coats anticancer drugs in membranes made from a patient’s own platelets, allowing the drugs to last longer in the body and attack both primary cancer tumors and the circulating tumor cells that can cause a cancer to metastasize. The work reportedly was tested successfully in an animal model.

    “There are two key advantages to using platelet membranes to coat anticancer drugs,” says Zhen Gu, Ph.D., corresponding author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “First, the surface of cancer cells has an affinity for platelets; they stick to each other. Second, because the platelets come from the patient’s own body, the drug carriers aren’t identified as foreign objects, so last longer in the bloodstream.”

    “This combination of features means that the drugs can not only attack the main tumor site, but are more likely to find and attach themselves to tumor cells circulating in the bloodstream, essentially attacking new tumors before they start,” adds Quanyin Hu, a Ph.D. student and lead author of the paper (“Anticancer Platelet-Mimicking Nanovehicles”), which appears in Advanced Materials

    Here’s how the process works. Blood is taken from a patient (a lab mouse in the case of this research) and the platelets are collected from that blood. The isolated platelets are treated to extract the platelet membranes, which are then placed in a solution with a nanoscale gel containing the anticancer drug doxorubicin (Dox), which attacks the nucleus of a cancer cell.

    The solution is compressed, forcing the gel through the membranes and creating nanoscale spheres made up of platelet membranes with Dox-gel cores. These spheres are then treated so that their surfaces are coated with the anticancer drug TRAIL, which is most effective at attacking the cell membranes of cancer cells.

    When released into a patient’s bloodstream, these pseudo-platelets can circulate for up to 30 hours as compared to approximately six hours for the nanoscale vehicles without the coating. When one of the pseudo-platelets comes into contact with a tumor, three things happen more or less at the same time.

    First, the P-Selectin proteins on the platelet membrane bind to the CD44 proteins on the surface of the cancer cell, locking it into place. Second, the TRAIL on the pseudo-platelet’s surface attacks the cancer cell membrane. Third, the nanoscale pseudo-platelet is effectively swallowed by the larger cancer cell. The acidic environment inside the cancer cell then begins to break apart the pseudo-platelet, thus freeing the Dox to attack the cancer cell’s nucleus.

    In a study using mice, the researchers found that using Dox and TRAIL in the pseudo-platelet drug delivery system was significantly more effective against large tumors and circulating tumor cells than using Dox and TRAIL in a nano-gel delivery system without the platelet membrane.

    “We’d like to do additional pre-clinical testing on this technique,” notes Dr. Gu. “And we think it could be used to deliver other drugs, such as those targeting cardiovascular disease, in which the platelet membrane could help us target relevant sites in the body.”

“Fine Tuning” Engineered T Cells May Extend Immunotherapy Approach to More Cancer Types


A T cell bound to multiple beads

An engineered CAR T cell (center) binding to beads, which cause the T cell to divide. In CAR T cell therapy, the engineered T cells are expanded into the hundreds of millions and then infused back into the patient.

Engineering immune cells to have a decreased ability to bind to their targets on cancer cells doesn’t appear to impair their ability to kill cancer cells, but it may cause them to spare healthy cells that have low levels of the same molecular target.

The findings, which come from two new studies performed in cancer cell lines and mice, suggest a way to make an investigational form of immunotherapy, known as CAR T cell therapy, a potential treatment option for more cancers, say the investigators who led the studies.

Results from both studies were published September 1 in Cancer Research.

Overcoming ‘On-Target, Off-Tissue’ Toxicity

To date, CAR T cell therapy has been tested primarily in blood cancers, demonstrating remarkable results in some patients, including complete remissions that have lasted for many years in patients with advanced disease.

Producing this therapy is a highly complex process that involves engineering T cells collected from patients’ blood to produce special receptors on their surfaces — called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs. The CARs are designed to bind to specific molecules, or antigens, that are found at higher than normal levels (overexpressed) on the surface of cancer cells. The engineered T cells are then grown in the laboratory into hundreds of millions of cells and infused back into the patient.

A substantial obstacle to extending the study of CAR T cells to patients with solid tumors has been “on-target, off-tissue toxicity,” where the engineered T cells “don’t discriminate between cancer cells and normal cells,” explained Daniel W. Lee, M.D., of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, who is leading clinical trials of CAR T cells in children with cancer.

This phenomenon is a result of the difficulty in finding suitable target antigens on cancer cells in solid tumors that aren’t also found on normal cells, which makes them susceptible to attack by the T cells, a direct cause of side effects.

Affinity Tuning to the Rescue?

By decreasing the affinity of the engineered T cells for their target antigens, this new approach may offer a way to overcome this barrier, authors from both studies suggested.

In the first study, a research team led by Yangbing Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, tested CAR T cells engineered to target the HER2 protein (also called ErbB2), which is overexpressed in approximately one-fourth of breast cancers, as well as in several other solid tumors.

Dr. Zhao and his colleagues manufactured a series of CAR T cells that had either a strong attraction (high affinity) or a low attraction (low affinity) to HER2. Studies in cell lines and mice showed that the affinity of the CAR T cells for HER2 affected their ability to distinguish between low- and high-HER2 expressing cells.

For example, in mice bearing HER2 overexpressing tumors on one side of their body and low HER2 expressing tumors on the other side, inoculating them with the high-affinity CAR T cells shrunk tumors on both sides. But when the mice were inoculated with the low-affinity CAR T cells, only the high HER2-expressing tumors regressed, while the low-expressing tumors continued to grow.

The second study, led by Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., of Ziopharm Oncology Inc., formerly of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and his colleagues, reported similar findings in a different experimental model. The research team constructed CAR T cells that had either high or low affinity for EGFR, a tumor-associated antigen that is overexpressed in more than 60 percent of human glioblastoma tumors, among other cancers, but in low levels on normal cells.

In an animal model of glioblastoma that overexpresses EGFR, both the high- and low-affinity CAR T cells shrank the tumors. But, because of their toxicity, overall, the high-affinity T cells did not substantially improve how long mice lived compared with untreated mice. Survival was improved, however, in mice treated with the low-affinity CAR T cells. In mice with low EGFR expressing tumors (a stand-in for normal cells with low EGFR expression), the high-affinity CAR T cells shrank tumors and appreciably improved how long some mice lived, whereas the low-affinity CAR T cells had little effect on tumors or survival.

Much of the research to improve CAR T cell performance has been focused on enhancing the activation of T cells by modifying the portion of the engineered receptor that is inside the cell, Dr. Cooper explained in a news release.

“Our study has shown that another possibility is to tweak the extracellular portion of the CAR that docks with the tumor by adjusting its affinity for the target protein,” he said.

Still Work To Do

More research is needed to determine whether low-affinity CAR T cells are a viable option for solid tumors, Dr. Lee cautioned.

The mouse models used in these studies, for example, are very limited in their ability to predict side effects from low-affinity CAR T cells, he continued.

“And, theoretically, the price one pays for an affinity-tuned CAR is a lower response rate or the depth of response—a partial response versus complete response,” Dr. Lee said. “We just won’t know this until these CARs enter clinical trials.”

Affinity-tuned CAR T cells are just one option being studied for extending this treatment approach to patients with solid tumors, he added. “The field is actively trying to overcome this limitation.”