According to a small but groundbreaking study, taking antibiotics in the month before starting immunotherapy dramatically reduces a cancer patient’s chances of survival.
Scientists at Imperial College London believe antibiotics strip out helpful bacteria from the gut, weakening the immune system. This appears to make it less likely that immunotherapy drugs will boost the body’s cancer-fighting capability.
How does immunotherapy work against cancer?
Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy that helps the body’s immune system fight a disease such as cancer. The body’s immune system is programmed to detect abnormal cells and prevent malignant growth. A sign that indicates an immune response against cancer cells is when tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are found in and around tumors.
However, cancer cells have the ability to avoid immune response and survive through the following mechanisms:
- They make genetic changes that make them less visible to the body’s immune defense.
- They have surface proteins that the immune system cannot recognize.
- Cancer overwhelms the immune system so that it can no longer respond to the threat.
While chemotherapy and radiation therapy kill cancer cells, immunotherapy kick-starts and boosts the body’s immune system. Doing so allows the immune system to recognize and fight the tumor.
At Williams Cancer Institute, we offer intratumoral immunotherapy and cryoablation immunotherapy to our cancer patients. These revolutionary cancer treatments, when combined, can significantly improve response rate and reduce the risk of adverse effects.
Click here for more information on the benefits of intratumoral immunotherapy.
How can intratumoral and cryoablation immunotherapy fight cancer?
Cryoablation entails the freezing of the tumor locally to keep it in its original place and prevent it from spreading. This allows the immune system to respond by releasing anti-tumor antigens.
After freezing, anti-cancer immuno-antibodies are injected directly into the tumors. This acts like a vaccine that can cure cancer using your immune system. Intratumoral administration of immuno-antibodies also requires a smaller dose of medications, which can cut treatment costs.
What happens when you use antibiotics before immunotherapy?
According to the study, taking antibiotics eliminates some gut microbiota, which are microorganisms found in the digestive tracts. A good microbiome means that your immune system has learned how to fight cancer better.
Antibiotic therapy is necessary to treat patients with bacterial infections. Therefore, the study suggests that patients who are due to receive immunotherapy need to take extra care in making decisions.
If you took any form of antibiotics in the month before your immunotherapy, you should let our oncologist know. To ensure the safety of our patients, it is becoming the standard in our clinic to not only evaluate the microbiome with Microbiome Dx, but also patients with recent antibiotic use prior to immunotherapy probably will need a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT).
Williams Cancer Institute: the best alternative cancer treatment in Mexico
Dr. Jason Williams combines his interventional radiology expertise with his knowledge of cancer, immunology, and immunotherapy.
If you require advanced cancer treatment, Williams Cancer Institute can help. We have experience in radiofrequency ablation, immunotherapy agents, and chemotherapy options.
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.