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Childhood Cancer ~ Part V (iv): Immunotherapy


In Part 1 of this series we explained that this series of articles is not meant to be medical advice, but a guide that may help you as a parent of a newly-diagnosed child with cancer cope just a bit better. Information is knowledge, and never more so than when you are dealing with childhood cancer!

These articles are meant to help you be the key part of your child’s treatment that you will need to be. Take what works for you according to your situation and your child’s temperament, personality, fears, strengths, and how they deal with adversity, and leave what does not pertain to your situation.

Part 5 will deal with Different Types of Treatment and Possible Side-Effects of that treatment. As this is quite a long section, I will split it into 5(i) Surgery 5(ii) Chemotherapy 5(iii) Radiation Therapy 5(iv) Immunotherapy and 5(v) Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatment (CAM) is very involved and will contain a lot of information, so that will be dealt with separately in Part 6 of this series of articles.

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The Fight to Beat Childhood Cancer


An incredible amount of people still believe that cancer is an “old person’s” disease, or at least an “adult” disease and are shocked when they find out that this is not so.

This is especially true in Africa, especially in the rural areas where information that we take for granted since the advent of the worldwide web and Google is not available, and old beliefs and cultures rule.

This belief is also true partly because, 99% of the time, cancer IS a malady tied to age. The cells in our bodies sometimes lose their battle against the toxins we’re exposed to, the sedentary lifestyles we lead, the viruses we contract as we go about our adult lives, and our genetic predispositions, and proliferate uncontrollably.

The approximately 1% of remaining cancers occur in children. It’s a particularly cruel reality when infants, toddlers, and teenagers draw the proverbial short straw despite their comparatively unpolluted anatomies.

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Immunotherapy May Help Stop Cancer Recurrence


Cancer can never really be “cured” – one just goes into “remission” because the cancer can come back at any time, and when it does it is generally a far worse strain.

Cancer Survivors live their lives knowing that they have this “time-bomb” inside of them that may go off again at any time, and that there is absolutely nothing that they can do about it – one just lives with the constant fear of recurrence.

New research by Mayo Clinic’s Tim Kottke and his team, which was recently published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, may hold some hope though.

The new research was a collaborative effort among scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, and the University of Surrey in Guildford — all of which are in the United Kingdom — and researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

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Cancer Treatments


cancer-2

This page is being updated as we can so please come back frequently to check new information

Childhood Cancer is very different to Adult Cancer and is therefore not treated the same as Adult Cancer. Paediatric Cancer Centres generally offer extra support services for children and their families, such as child life specialists, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, counsellors. Special activities and programs to help your child and family cope may also be available. There are, however, times when a teenager with cancer may need to be treated at an Adult Cancer Centre.

All Children with Cancer should be treated at a specialised cancer centre. Doctors at these centres have extensive experience in treating children with cancer and have access to the latest research. In many cases, a team of doctors works with a child and the family to provide care; this is called a multidisciplinary team.

This section will eventually contain all available information about all the main cancer treatments for Childhood Cancer, including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and bone marrow and stem cell transplants.

We will also provide information about complementary and alternative therapies.

The treatment of childhood cancer depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, the family’s preferences, and the child’s overall health. Your child’s care plan may also include treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care.

Take time to learn about all of your child’s treatment options and be sure to ask questions about things that are unclear.

Also, talk about the goals of each treatment with your doctor and what to expect while receiving the treatment.

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Could Aspirin Boost Cancer Immunotherapy?


Credit: Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Our immune system is incredibly effective at getting rid of bacterial and viral infections that can harm us. But cancer, which starts from our own cells growing out of control, poses a bigger challenge.

Scientists have long known that, for some cancers at least, employing devious methods to trick or hide from the immune system is paramount to their survival.

And in recent years, ‘immunotherapy’ treatments, which unleash the power of the immune system by unmasking tumours and encouraging immune cells to attack them, have been showing great promise.

Today, Professor Caetano Reis e Sousa and his Cancer Research UK-funded team at The Francis Crick Institute have revealed another trick up cancer’s sleeve – and their discovery could lead to a simple way to boost the power of immunotherapy treatments.

And it centres on aspirin – one of the most widely available drugs, and one whose complex role in cancer has come under close scrutiny.

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Is Immunotherapy the Answer to Cancer Treatment?


The results of new cancer drugs trials have been hailed as spectacular, with one expert claiming the potential for a cure for the disease is “definitely there”.

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system to attack cancerous cells, proved so effective that in one British-led trial, more than half of patients with advanced melanoma saw tumours shrink or brought under control, according to researchers.

The trials, a number of which have been presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual conference in Chicago, could herald a “new era” for cancer treatments.

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Natural (Born) Killer Cells Battle Paediatric Leukaemia


A leukemia cell coated with antibody is marked for destruction by activated natural killer cells.  Credit: Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have shown that a select team of immune-system cells from patients with leukemia can be multiplied in the lab, creating an army of natural killer cells that can be used to destroy the cancer cells. Results of their in vitro study could one day provide a less toxic and more effective way to battle this cancer in children.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer of childhood. This disease hinders the development of healthy blood cells while cancer cells proliferate. Currently, children with ALL receive chemotherapy for two to three years, exposing them to significant side effects including changes in normal development and future fertility.

As a way to avoid these adverse effects, investigators have been researching how to supercharge the body’s innate cancer-fighting ability, a technique called immunotherapy. One branch of the immune system, and a possible component of immunotherapy, includes a class of cells called natural killer (NK) cells. These specialized white blood cells police the body and destroy abnormal cells before they turn cancerous.

Read the Full Article on Health Innovations

 

Childhood Cancer ~ A General Guide for Parents Part V (iv): Immunotherapy


Inspirational-quote-about-the-life-of-a-cancer-patient

In Part 1 of this series we explained that this series of articles is not meant to be medical advice, but a guide that may help you as a parent of a newly-diagnosed child with cancer cope just a bit better. Information is knowledge, and never more so than when you are dealing with childhood cancer!

These articles are meant to help you be the key part of your child’s treatment that you will need to be. Take what works for you according to your situation and your child’s temperament, personality, fears, strengths, and how they deal with adversity, and leave what does not pertain to your situation.

Part 5 will deal with Different Types of Treatment and Possible Side-Effects of that treatment. As this is quite a long section, I will split it into 5(i) Surgery 5(ii) Chemotherapy 5(iii) Radiation Therapy 5(iv) Immunotherapy and 5(v) Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatment (CAM) is very involved and will contain a lot of information, so that will be dealt with separately in Part 6 of this series of articles.

Read the rest of this entry

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