Cancer Immunotherapy in Israel
Oncologists of the leading private hospital Herzliya Medical Center widely practice modern and innovative methods of therapy of malignant tumors. Cancer immunotherapy in Israel has been proven to be a highly effective method of comprehensive treatment characterized by a low complications and side effects rates. The development of new medications for immunotherapy constantly widens the scope of applicability of this promising direction of conservative cancer treatment in Israel.
The History of Development of Tumor Immunotherapy
Over the course of many years cancer treatment has been based on the application of chemotherapeutic medications, which have a deleterious effect not only on cancerous cells, but on the whole body. The mechanism of classic chemotherapy is based on disrupting the process of metabolism, the intensity of which in malignant cells is significantly higher than in healthy tissues. A major drawback of this approach is its nonspecific impact on the tumor accompanied by a high risk of side effects on the part of organs and systems characterized by high physiological level of metabolism (hematopoietic system, reproductive glands, and mucosal epithelium).
Contemporary research has helped scientists to establish the importance of the immune system in preventing malignant changes, as well as to determine the reasons for the disruption of timely identification of cancerous cells as foreign and subject to elimination. The possibility of activating and “teaching” the human immune system to recognize malignant transformations at an early stage has allowed us to create a number of remedies that influence the cancer selectively. This has opened the prospect of creating a new and promising direction in oncology – immunotherapy.
The Principles of Cancer Immunotherapy
The human immune system is a unique defense mechanism that prevents the penetration and pernicious effect of foreign bodies. By activating nonspecific (tissue) and specific (humoral) defense factors, the immune system deals excellently with the vast majority of infectious agents. Unlike microorganisms, a cancer cell—despite significant metabolic differences—maintains the basic primary immunological characteristics and remains invisible to the body's defense systems, which enables uninhibited growth and metastatic spread of the tumor.
The principles of immunotherapy comprise identifying the cells of malignant tumors as foreign formations subject to immediate elimination. Application of immune system activators, as well as ready antibodies for specific types of cancer, actuates the natural mechanism of eliminating pathological cell structures regardless of their location.
The above principles of immunotherapy allow healthy tissues and organs unaffected by the tumor to remain untouched in the course of therapy.
The Development of New Medications for Cancer Immunotherapy in Israel
At the present time immunotherapy medications for certain forms of primary kidney cancer (Oncophage), melanoma (Cancer VAX), and a number of malignant blood diseases are used in clinical practice in Israel. Along with nonspecific factors of immune system stimulation (Interferon), special emphasis is placed on creating new specific anti-tumor vaccines capable of activating the human immune system, thereby suppressing the growth of malignant cells regardless of their location. Intensive research is conducted to develop drugs influencing the so-called “control points” of the immune system – the biochemical regulation mechanisms responsible for maintaining the normal structure of dividing cells and preventing atypical changes, including malignant ones.
Sixteen medications are undergoing clinical testing, the success of which would give us hope to create revolutionary schemes of strictly specific monotherapy, as well as “cocktails” of wide-range anti-tumor immunologic remedies in the near future. The scientists’ task lies not only in extending the life expectancy of oncology patients, but also in gaining full control over the development of the disease, regardless of the stage of the tumor’s development. The results of the research and clinical testing indicate the beginning of a new era in cancer treatment based on the defense mechanisms of the human body.
Tumor Immunotherapy in Herzliya Medical Center Private Hospital
Herzliya Medical Center Private Hospital employs leading specialists in Israel, who have completed medical internships and professional development programs in major oncology centers of the world taking part in the development of immunology methods.
Professor Nir Peled, Israel's leading specialist in lung cancer immunotherapy, comments: “Even now, at the stage of clinical testing of the medications, we see significant prolonging of life. Patients, who by our estimates had little more than several months to live, survive over a year with minimal side effects. We are trying to assess the potential effectiveness of immunotherapy in every specific case in order to allow the patient to undergo painless and not agonizing cancer treatment.”
Today, the use of cancer immunotherapy remedies as part of a complex treatment has shown a high therapeutic effect and safety of use with patients of all ages in all stages of development of the disease, giving hope of a favorable outcome in the cases of late diagnoses and secondary spread of the tumor. The individual approach of our team at Herzliya Medical Center Private Hospital, combined with the high professional level and rich clinical experience, has fully transformed the prognosis of recurring, metastatic and inoperable cancer forms.