Immunotherapy for Cancer


Cancer comes in many forms and choosing the right treatment options depends heavily on the patient, their health, and the type of cancer present. For patients with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body from where it started), chemotherapy has been a long-standing choice. However, for some patients, immunotherapy is the more effective treatment with fewer side effects.

Immunotherapy works by working with the patient’s body. The human body is designed to fight against infections and diseases, including cancer cells that grow and spread unchecked as they avoid the body’s natural defenses. Immunotherapy boosts the natural immune system, making it more effective in fighting cancer cells. It helps the body identify which cells should be left alone and which cells are cancerous and need to be attacked and eradicated. Immunotherapy utilizes the immune system to better recognize and target cancer cells, even after treatment has ended.

Dr. Amar Rava of Palm Harbor, FL l discusses ImmunotherapyOne of the biggest benefits of immunotherapy is its less severe side effects. Chemotherapy is known for its harsh side effects that can be devastating to patients. Side effects such as severe fatigue, hair loss, nausea and vomiting diminish quality of life for cancer patients. While immunotherapy is not without its side effects, most patients find that muscle aches, shortness of breath and headaches are easier to endure.

Immunotherapy can be used to treat many types of cancers. Urologists have been using it to treat bladder and prostate cancers, and typically for patients who have asymptomatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Having more treatment options for prostate cancer—the most common form of cancer found in men—means a successful outcome is more likely.

Immunotherapy is less toxic than chemotherapy and its less intense side effects allow for a better quality of life for patients with prostate and bladder cancer. According to Dr. Amar J. Patel, Board Certified Urologist, immunotherapy is also shown to increase life expectancy for cancer patients by up to three months. Advance Urology Institute achieves better outcomes for patients by utilizing all of the tools available in the fight against cancer, including the patient’s very own immune systems. For more information about immunotherapy, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Recent Advances in Prostate Cancer Treatment


Prostate cancer is cancer of the gland that produces seminal fluid for the nourishment of sperm. Some cases are slow developing and do not affect the patient significantly. These can be managed by watchful waiting and constant monitoring. Others are aggressive and must be addressed immediately. As with most cancers, early diagnosis increases the chances of successful treatment.

Developments in the treatment of prostate cancer

1. Multiparametric MRI (MpMRI) in diagnosis

Determining which cancer is life threatening and which one is not is a critical issue. In order to carry out a more efficient diagnosis, doctors now are using an MRI guided biopsy instead of the more traditional transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy. The MpMRI provides better results determining if the prostate is infected and if the cancer has spread outside the prostate. It can help a doctor decide whether or not a patient should undergo a biopsy. And the MpMRI can be used to monitor the cancer growth, making it a very useful tool when watchful waiting is adopted.

2. Use of immunotherapy in treatment

Until recently, it was thought that immunotherapy was ineffective against prostate cancer. Prostate cancer treatment was primarily limited to surgery, hormone therapy and radiotherapy. In recent years, however, researchers have found that immunotherapy, specifically a drug called pembrolizumab, may be effective in treating aggressive cases of prostate cancer that have advanced beyond the other forms of treatment.

3. Robotic surgery

Like most other areas of surgery, the treatment of prostate cancer has benefited from the use of robotic or the da vinci surgical system that is guided by a surgeon operating from a console. Patients who undergo prostatectomy to remove the prostate may avoid open surgery by opting for robotic surgery. Benefits of robotic surgery include reduced bleeding, reduced pain, low risk of post surgery infections and fast recovery rates.

Medical advancements have improved cancer treatment outcomes and changed lives for the better. At Advanced Urology Institute, the team of specialists uses the latest techniques and technology for treating prostate cancer. They are available to offer consultation, diagnosis and treatment best suited for the individual patient.

For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

What is Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer

Immunotherapy is a beneficial treatment for men with prostate cancer, particularly those with incurable advanced-stage or recurrent form of the disease. The treatment works by activating your immune system to attack the cancer cells, shrinking the tumor or causing it to disappear altogether. Used alone or in combination with other treatments, like chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation therapy, immunotherapy is able to reverse the growth of prostate cancer after the other treatment options have failed.

How does it work?

Like many other tumors, prostate cancer evades the immune system by deactivation of T-cells, the blood cells that attack foreign materials and abnormal cells in the body. So immunotherapeutic approaches are designed in a way to enhance the response of the immune system to cancer cells by reactivation of the T-cells.

During immunotherapy, immature immune cells are obtained from a man with prostate cancer. This is done to allow the cells to get out of the environment where they can be detected and deactivated by the cancer cells as soon as they are mature. The immature cells then are re-engineered by combining them with an artificial version of PAP, the antigen expressed by 95 percent of prostate cancer cells. After re-engineering, they are supplied with a factor (GM-CSF) that boosts their survival, growth and maturity once they are infused back into the body.

Meticulously re-engineered, activated, trained and matured T-cells are infused back into the body — now with the ability to attack and destroy cancer cells. They act as antibodies against the cancer cells and are able to detect and eliminate the cancer cells. The infusion of re-engineered cells or antibodies against prostate cancer is done three times. But as the treatment goes on, you still will be on the treatment or drugs you were already taking prior to immunotherapy. That will allow your body to produce enough activated, trained and matured T-cells to fight the prostate cancer without ever again being deactivated or bypassed by the cancer.

Why should you consider immunotherapy for prostate cancer?

Immunotherapy is an amazing and highly effective treatment for the cancer. During treatment, your cancer treatment team can use a wide variety of immune-based strategies to develop antibodies against the tumor, killing the cancer cells and preventing its recurrence. It offers excellent results in men with advanced-stage hormone resistant prostate cancer and reduces the risk of cancer recurrence in men with high-risk, localized tumors when it is administered in combination with hormone therapy. The treatment increases the survival rate from prostate cancer and enhances life expectancy by several years.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we are offering immunotherapy as a treatment option for prostate cancer, particularly tumors that have spread beyond the prostate or become resistant. And as our understanding of how cancer cells relate with the immune system deepens, we are tapping into that knowledge to help improve treatment outcomes for our patients. So if you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, find out from your urologist if immunotherapy may be of help in your situation. Want to know more about the treatment options for prostate cancer? Visit the “Advanced Urology Institute” site.