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Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

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Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby BrownBagger » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:08 am

Post treatment, I'm certainly hoping we got any and all cancer cells that might have been present in my body. But I'm just wondering, if we didn't, does that necessarily mean a recurrence or mets? Can your body's immune system find and kill cancer cells without any outside intervention?
Eric, 56
Dx: 3/09, Stage 4 RC
Recurrences: (3/lung)
Major Ops: 5
Chemo Rounds (career): 76
Bicycle miles post-dx 10,346
Motto: Live your life like it's going to be a long one, because it just might, and then you'll be glad you did.
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby jscho » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:32 am

Yes. The immune system normally keeps mutated cells that have managed to survive in check through natural killer cells (NK cells) that recognize irregular cell surfaces, attach onto them and inject proteins into the cancer cell to induce the cell to commit suicide. The NK cells must be recruited into action first through chemical messengers (interferons and cytokines).

Apparently there is a strong correlation between NK activity and cancer prognosis, so anything you can do to make a population of NK cells and help them to do their job is good. Surprisingly, there is some evidence that psychological factors can play a role here, with positive, upbeat people doing better than depressed people.

Best,
Jeremy
Colon cancer dx Feb. 24, 2009, T3/N2/M0
Right Hemicolectomy Feb. 26, 2009
Stage 3C: 4/19 positive nodes
High grade adenocarcinoma with tumor budding
FOLFOX6 April 15 - Oct. 1, 2009
Elective sub-total colectomy July 3, 2012 due to 2 DALMs
Currently NED
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby jdepp » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:41 am

BrownBagger wrote:Post treatment, I'm certainly hoping we got any and all cancer cells that might have been present in my body. But I'm just wondering, if we didn't, does that necessarily mean a recurrence or mets? Can your body's immune system find and kill cancer cells without any outside intervention?


"...it is now known that micrometastases and circulating cancer cells in blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes are almost always present in advanced-stage cancers; the majority of the cells derived from the primary tumor are not stopped by the liver and enter the systemic circulation. Moreover, it is well known that cancer cells are usually found in the blood spilled in the surgical field [10,11]. In consideration of this, a radical operation is, in some respects, only a cytoreductive operation (a treatment that does not completely eradicate all tumor cells, even if it entirely resects all visible and detectable disease). However, cure can be achieved with the assistance of the patient’s natural immunological defenses and with the latest generation of combination chemotherapy. Surgical tumor burden reduction may provide an immunological benefit, because tumor cells produce substances that interfere with normal defenses. According to the log-kill hypothesis, each dose of a chemotherapeutic agent kills a constant fraction of cells, rather than a specific number of them. Therefore, by reducing the initial tumor volume, one increases the likelihood of chemotherapy to reduce the number of viable tumor cells toward the desired endpoint of zero [9]."

Journal of Surgical Oncology 2009;100:345–347
Management of Colorectal Liver Metastases in Patients
With Peritoneal Carcinomatosis
F. IZZO, MD,1*M. PICCIRILLO, MD,1 R. PALAIA, MD,2 V. ALBINO, MD,3 R. DI GIACOMO, MD,3
AND A.A. MASTRO, M
Colon dx 8/08 @ 41
Poorly diff. 12+ liver mets, 19/28 LN
Colon rsx 8/08
14 Folfox-Erbitux, 10/08-8/09
PVE 1/09
Liver rsx 2/09
lung & LN mets 10/10
Folfiri-Avastin 10/10 - 4/11
Xeloda-Avastin 4/11 - 4/13
Xelox-Erb. 5-7/13. UFUR 10/13 ->
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby kimmercans » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:52 am

Absolutely! Our immune system has a very precise anti cancer strategy built in.....and is actively destroying cancer cells all the time! Why then do we get cancer? Something hinders our immune response be it a virus, environmental insult, diet, genetice tendency....it "turns" off our immune response to cancer cells and thus...instead of a few cancer cells, we now have a billion (greater than one cm tumor). That is why it is SOOOOOO important to aid and nuture our immune systems throughout cancer treatment and after we complete therapy. And this is why traditional medicine misses it's mark...it doesn't go there. It doesn't address the ROOT cause...it just tries to kill the cancer. But it doesn't fix the TRIGGER. You have the power to fix the trigger through lifestyle modifications and by priming your immune system. (which by the way took a HUGE insult with chemo/radiation...so there is no time like the present!) Why has cancer increased dramatically over the last hundred years? Because the insults outweigh our bodies capabilities. (food additives, toxins, radiation ) impossible to avoid in this modern world...yet we are paying a huge price. By eating processed foods and NOT eating enough fruits and veggies, whole grains etc. we are not "arming" our immune system. It desperately needs the vitamins and antioxidants we don't provide in our regular diet.

I am a health care provider and my FIRST intervention with almost ANY diagnosis is lifestyle modification....mostly through diet. I have been extremely disappointed in the LACK of education from my oncology team regarding this MOST important aspect of treatment.

Bottom line Brownbagger....either someting quelled your immune response (genetics) or your lifestyle outweighed your immune response. Both possibilities can be greatly influenced by actively pursuing a regime that primes your immune system. My best resource so far has been Russel Blaylock's Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients. Andrew Weil also has great information on priming the immune system.

Now that your chemo radiation is complete....you can actively continue to fight cancer with supplements and lifestyle modifications. You are already way ahead with your exercise routine. Best wishes.

Kim
Kimberly Age 46
Dx'd rectal ca 10/12/09
LAR,TME 10/14/2009 Stage 2a
Opted out of Folfox.
4/19/12 CT scan clear NED CEA<0.5
Taking curcumin, Celebrex, vitamin d, digestive enzymes, bio identical hormone replacement.
Run 12-15 miles per week:)
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby Terry » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:04 am

I really believe that my cancer came back due to the most stress I've ever had in my life for about 5 months constantly. My onc. believes stress does play a role also, effecting the immune system. I'm trying to do things to my immune system stronger like I'm going to be seeing a naturalpath.
DX 7/3/07
Chemo, radiation, 20 mo. chemo, IMRT, cyberknife, 6/11 lobectomy.
1/16 resection perm. colostomy intraop. rad.
PET 2/12 nose, thyroid, liver, lngs
Folfox 3/12
Lord I know You'll keep me here until
you know I cannot suffer any longer!
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby hopeful » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:18 am

There's a book that I'm reading, "Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential foods to help prevent cancer" that suggests some common foods, many that you probably already know about, but some that I hadn't heard of that help the immune system to prevent but also could help prevent a recurrence. The authors are leading researchers in cancer and oncology and there's a lot of good information on why certain foods can help. I liked that it isn't a book of "don't do this and don't do that" but instead things that you CAN do that could help. Amazon.com carries it and there are a lot of positive reviews there.

I think with all medical conditions that diet can help our immune systems and give them the ammunition they need to fight off disease.
Caregiver to husband diagnosed 11/09 stage IIIb colon cancer
Surgery 11/5/09
12 rounds FOLFOX beginning 12/18/09
Folfox finished 6/3/10
Last scan Jan 2014
NED since Dec. 2009
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby PGLGreg » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:36 pm

kimmercans wrote:... lifestyle modification....mostly through diet. I have been extremely disappointed in the LACK of education from my oncology team regarding this MOST important aspect of treatment.

It's not reasonable to expect lifestyle modification to become part of conventional cancer therapy until there is reproducible evidence that it actually works.
Greg
stage 2a rectal cancer 11/05 at age 63
LAR 12/05 with adjuvant radiation+5FU,leucovorin 1-2/06
NED for 8 years, cured
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby Dori » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:56 pm

Somewhere along the line I came to the conclusion that our immune systems had lost the ability to recognize our individual cancers (which is what allowed the cancer to develop into tumor(s), instead of being nipped in the bud early on). Was I mistaken? I would like to believe that my body still has the ability to recognize MY colon cancer and to destroy some of the circulating cells or micro metastases, I just thought that wasn't the case.

Can anyone clear this up for me? Disclaimer--I'm a smart enough person, but not when it comes to science and medicine, so I need a little help. :)

d
47 years old
Stage IIIC, high grade signet ring, 14 out of 18 nodes affected
Colon resection 5/15/08
FOLFOX 6/08 - 11/08
Mom to a great 11 (!!) yo girl
Currently NED
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby garbovatwin » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:27 pm

Yes. Have you ever modeled for the Colondar?
OUR world is worth saving
Question everything. Become your own Advocate.
When we find a cure for one cancer it will lead to a cure for ALL cancer
Crohn's Colitis
Rectal Mucosa Resection - Oct 2010
Rectal Surgery - Sep 2011
Stroke Sep 2012
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby BrownBagger » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:42 pm

The thought crossed my mind since I live about an hour and a half from Glens Falls, where they shoot the colondar pics, I believe, but I was dx at 50, so according to what I read, too late. Plus, I need to split some wood this summer to get my upper body shape back.

But, thanks for asking!
Eric, 56
Dx: 3/09, Stage 4 RC
Recurrences: (3/lung)
Major Ops: 5
Chemo Rounds (career): 76
Bicycle miles post-dx 10,346
Motto: Live your life like it's going to be a long one, because it just might, and then you'll be glad you did.
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby girlnextdoor » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:51 pm

Yeah, you're a cutie pie!

Lisa
Husband, age 52, DX RC 8/2007
Stage III
5FU,Rad
Surgery (APR) 12/2007
FOLFOX
2 lung nodules 5/2008
HNPCC postive (MSH2 mutation)
Mets to lung 5/2009,lymph nodes
FOLFIRI, Avastin 7/2009
Xeloda 1/2010
Four children (18,15,12,11)

Lisa, loving wife
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby blakeswife » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:22 pm

Ditto what Lisa said! lol! I thought the same thing when you put your picture up! Nice change!!
DH Stage IV 10/07
Colectomy, Liver resection & RFA, 1/13 LN
12/07-5/08 Folfox/Avastin
7/09 recurrence-Peritoneum
9/09-12/09 Folfiri/Avastin
1/10-5/10 Xeloda/Avastin
9/10-current w/built in breaks
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby BrownBagger » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:53 pm

*blushes*
Eric, 56
Dx: 3/09, Stage 4 RC
Recurrences: (3/lung)
Major Ops: 5
Chemo Rounds (career): 76
Bicycle miles post-dx 10,346
Motto: Live your life like it's going to be a long one, because it just might, and then you'll be glad you did.
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BrownBagger
 
Posts: 7004
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:56 pm
Location: Central NYS

Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby hopeful » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:00 pm

Dori wrote:Somewhere along the line I came to the conclusion that our immune systems had lost the ability to recognize our individual cancers (which is what allowed the cancer to develop into tumor(s), instead of being nipped in the bud early on). Was I mistaken? I would like to believe that my body still has the ability to recognize MY colon cancer and to destroy some of the circulating cells or micro metastases, I just thought that wasn't the case.

Can anyone clear this up for me? Disclaimer--I'm a smart enough person, but not when it comes to science and medicine, so I need a little help. :)

d


Dori, there's a lot of information in that book, in easy to understand language about how our bodies work and some of the ways in which cancer cells get out of control. From what I've read in the book and in other books and studies, many or most of us have cancer cells in our bodies. Some never divide enough to be a problem, some are so slow to get out of control (like some prostate cancers) and some grow rapidly out of control. From what I understand there are a lot of different types and characteristics to the cells, much of which isn't yet understood. I have an aunt who is a 17 year survivor of lymphoma who had her spleen removed 17 years ago that had grown far beyond it's normal size and filled with cancer. She goes every 3 months for bloodwork. The cancer is still in her bone marrow but hasn't done anything in all the years since having her spleen removed. She never went through chemo or radiation although her oncologist highly recommended it. She takes vitamins, gets lots of exercise and has a positive attitude. She eats little meat and lots of fruits and vegetables. She's always the one who is there in a crisis for anyone else in the family or any friend or neighbor. Did I mention she just turned 80?

So why is her cancer not doing anything? I think the book gives some hints and gave me a better idea, although it certainly can't explain it. I think that doing everything we can to help our immune systems fight the battle is a good thing.

But I wouldn't count on the immune system alone. Too much is still a mystery and surgery, chemo, and/or radiation and other treatments do help, maybe not always as much as we would like them to, but perhaps enough to get things to a level that the immune system can fight.
Caregiver to husband diagnosed 11/09 stage IIIb colon cancer
Surgery 11/5/09
12 rounds FOLFOX beginning 12/18/09
Folfox finished 6/3/10
Last scan Jan 2014
NED since Dec. 2009
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Re: Can Your Immune System Alone Kill Cancer Cells?

Postby Guest » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:03 am

MSK - The Colorectal Disease Management Team has completed the first investigation of anti-Insulin-like Growth Factor Receptor monoclonal antibodies in colorectal cancer.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/6646858117472m87/
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