Immunotherapy Treatment For Cancer
Author: Cheryl Heaton
Dr. Jason R. Williams of The Williams Cancer Institute was recently featured on the podcast “Targeted Talks”, along with medical oncologist Dr. George R. Simon, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The two discussed the importance community oncologists have on the future of treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.
According to Dr. Williams, “every treatment option for non-small cell lung cancer now involves individualized immunotherapy.” Though oncologists had been resistant to including it in the plan of care for their patients, most have adapted as studies have revealed success, and more drugs are FDA approved.
Patients are asked as soon as they receive pathology reports whether they would like to start immunotherapy. There are limitations to success, as more data continues to be gathered on the subject. One promising option is the addition of cryoablation immunotherapy.
Cryoablation Immunotherapy: A Review
Cryoablation is a technique where practitioners place a needle into a tumor. The tumor is then frozen, which enhances an anticancer immune response, even in distant tumors. Studies have indicated that, when combined with the injection of immunotherapy agents, the effectiveness of the immune response is significantly improved compared to medications or cryoablation alone.
The Future of Immunotherapy Agents
New drugs continue to emerge that improve upon current immunotherapy agents. As data develops, the question becomes, what do we do with it? In the past, only specialty clinics had access to pathology testing and immunotherapy agents. This is no longer the case, and community oncologists have more access than ever.
Many community oncologists work in academic settings. It is up to them to remain informed regarding treatments available and updated technology in the area of immunotherapy to better advocate for their patients. Many of these practitioners have access to clinical trials. Allowing for data and information to be readily available through these studies will help all patients in the future.
The Role of Academic Settings in Non-Small Cell Cancer Treatment
Evaluation of data is often conducted in academic settings and is usually considered in terms of how it can add value to the community.
Importantly, academic settings may have access to drugs that are currently in community trials. Access allows community members, especially those who are low-income, uninsured, or underinsured, to have access to the medications they need. They also have access to new diagnostic options for non-small cell lung cancer, which includes liquid biopsies.
Liquid Biopsies in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Liquid biopsies are a new trend in cancer diagnostics. In the past, there have been concerns with specimen mismatches with these biopsies, and results have been inconsistent. Often this is due to tissue samples that are not large enough for proper diagnosis.
It is essential that oncologists educate colleagues, including pathologists, surgeons, and radiologists, in the importance of sample tissue size in regards to liquid biopsies. Dr. Simon spoke of the three rules to a suitable biopsy on the “Targeted Talks” Podcast.
The first rule is if it is there, it is there. It is rare for results to give a false positive. The second rule is if it is not there, it could still be there. If it is a negative biopsy result, but you are suspicious of mutation, the tissue sample must be looked at or another biopsy completed. The consequences of missing a diagnosis are too severe for the patient.
The third rule is, the larger the testing panel, the more accurate the diagnosis. With technological advancements, broader panels now allow for better detection. More extensive panels also are useful for research. Actionable targets can be identified in the majority of patients, which enhances treatment options. Radiofrequency ablation may be one of those options.
Radiofrequency Ablation for Cancer
Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure used to eliminate tumors. It has been used as a cancer treatment option for over 28 years. It is a minimally invasive medical procedure. Most patients are candidates and respond well. When used with guided imagery to successfully target the tumor, without damaging surrounding tissues, the method is promising with low tumor recurrence rates.
Not all medical professionals have access to the procedure. In one national study, only 16% of medical doctors had access, with most working in University settings. Lack of experience with the process or access to radiologists are also barriers to using the technique.
Williams Cancer Institute – Further Information
Doctors at Williams Cancer Institute have access to radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation, and immunotherapy agents. If you or a loved one had questions or needs to discuss new experimental chemo free treatment options, call us at 251-943-9409 or schedule an appointment. We will guide you to the best and most successful treatment options available based on your needs.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.