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Home > Experimental treatment > Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, or biotherapy

Not only impact from outside can be used as a treatment of mesothelioma but also patient's immune system is in itself can efficient to fight cancer. To direct or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer different substances made by the body or made in a laboratory can be used. This treatment is also called immunotherapy or biotherapy.

This type of treatment works by encouraging the body's natural defense system, which is called the immune system, to attack cancer. So we can say that immunotherapy is the only type of biological therapy.

Interleukin-2 (also called IL-2 or aldesleukin) and interferon are two types of immunotherapy that are in trials for mesothelioma. IL-2 is a part of the immune response that is naturally made in the body. It is also possible to make it in the laboratory that's why it can be used in much larger quantities as cancer treatment. Usually IL-2 is injected into the bloodstream or directly into the pleural cavity (intrapleurally). Despite that usage of these methods have shown some success in stage 1 and 2 mesothelioma, it is almost impossible to use them as a treatment because most mesothelioma patients are diagnosed at a late stage.

Trials of interferon in combination with various chemotherapy and on its own show that the combination treatment haven't been any better than the chemotherapy drugs on their own. We still need to understand how useful interferon can be in treating mesothelioma.

Colony-stimulating factors are another substances that can initiate an antitumor immune response . Trial that involved intratumoral injection of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) has been conducted by Robinson's group122 at the University of Western Australia. They reported intense intratumoral lymphocytic infiltrate that is associated with some local reduction in tumor mass in two patients. Significant therapeutic effects with intraperitoneal delivery of cytokine genes for antisense TGF-, IFN-, IL-2 has been also demonstrated.

A series of phase I and phase II clinical trials of combinations of immunotherapy (cytokines) and chemotherapy have been carried out recently. These trials have as their rationale in vitro synergistic antiproliferative effects on mesothelioma cell lines of cytokines, such as IFN- in combination with standard chemotherapeutic agents. In human trials, most encouraging results have combination of the most active single chemotherapeutic drugs with cytokines with proven antitumor activity (ie, IFN-).


Antineoplastons is a unique type of cancer treatment (in addition to fighting HIV infection and certain autoimmune diseases). They were isolated by Stanislaw R. Burzynski, M.D. more than 20 years ago. Antineoplastons are found to occur naturally throughout the body; however, they can also be made in a laboratory. It is a group of 120 peptide fragments, organic acids and amino acid derivatives. Antineoplastons are derived from glutamine, phenylacetate salts and isoglutamine.

Researches of antineoplastons has been conducted by Dr. Burzynski since the late 1960s. Dr. Burzynski believes that special peptides called anticancer peptides cause spontaneous regression of cancerous cells. These peptides can be found in large quantities throughout the blood and urine. Burzynski considers antineoplastons to be capable of reprogramming certain errors in cellular differentiation and in that way "normalizing" cancer cells.

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