Based on Brad’s research, here is a list of resources that he highly recommends.
- The New Personalized Cancer Treatment: Why Neoantigen Vaccines Could Be The Next Big Immunotherapy Breakthrough – Neoantigen vaccines are being touted by some as the next big cancer treatment breakthrough. This article explores how these vaccines work and the companies looking to bring them to market. Immunotherapy has taken center stage in the fight against cancer. Broadly, this type of treatment directs a patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells. Some immunotherapies target the disease by going after antigens, which are substances (usually made up of proteins) present on a cancer cell’s surface. But sometimes, normal cells also express certain antigens — so destroying them en masse poses a big health risk. As a result, researchers are increasingly looking to neoantigen vaccines as a solution.
- Personalized Cancer Vaccines in Clinical Trials – This article explores the history and status of personalized neoantigen vaccines for cancer treatment. The approach is to sequence the DNA of an individual’s cancer cells to identify unique cancer proteins (peptides, or neoantigens), with the potential to stimulate the immune system against their cancer. In contrast to cell-based immune therapies (e.g., CAR-T), which directly provide the patient with tumor-attacking T cells, the idea is that these neoantigens could be used to create vaccines that stimulate their immune system (endogenous killer T cells) to attack the cancer cells. “The field is young, but predicting antigens produced by patients’ malignant cells could yield successful treatments for individuals with a range of cancer types.”
- We can now customize cancer treatments, tumor by tumor – an article in MIT Technology Review about Genentech’s strategy for personalized vaccine treatments, investing in a German company named BioNTech. The composition of each vaccine would be based on the characteristics of each patient’s tumor DNA. The company would have to, in essence, make a separate treatment for every single patient. This would require not only a unique process for each patient, but a new and untested business model.
- DNA sequencing for cancer treatment, a HumanDB reference – Explains why genetic data is important in treating cancer, and the various types of DNA tests and data you would want to assemble.
- The New Personalized Cancer Treatment: Why Neoantigen Vaccines Could Be the Next Big Immunotherapy Breakthrough – Explores how neoantigen vaccines direct a patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells and the companies looking to bring these immunotherapies to market.
- How the Microbiome Could Be the Key to New Cancer Treatments – The effectiveness of drugs that help the immune system fight cancer cells appears to depend on bacteria in the gut.
- A Clever New Strategy for Treating Cancer, Thanks to Darwin – Adaptive therapy is treating cancer as a chronic illness, which we realize is a more useful metaphor, rather than winning the battle and having a cure. We know that cancer cells mutate and evolve around whatever treatment we throw at them, and it only makes sense to go to the next step of using Darwinian natural selection theory within the body to model how some cancer cells can compete with other cancer cells.
- Checkpoint Inhibitors Boost Cancer Vaccine Research
- Treatment Algorithms Based on Tumor Molecular Profiling: The Essence of Precision Medicine Trials
- Charles Graeber, The Breakthrough – Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer – Published in late 2018, chronicles how researchers discovered new cancer treatments that overcome tricks by cancer to circumvent our immune system. Two appendices are particularly valuable and concise in explaining how immunotherapies work: “The Breakthrough in Brief”, and what’s next: “Types of Immunotherapies Now and Upcoming”.
- Glenn Sabin, N of 1 – A proponent of integrative health shares his journey to cancer remission with diet, exercise, and meditation, and without the use of surgery, chemo, or radiation.
- Lorenzo Cohen and Alison Jefferies, Anticancer Living – The head of integrative health at MD Anderson and his wife share the evidence for healthy living to keep cancer at bay in the “mix of six”:
- Kelly Turner, Radical Remission
- Surviving Terminal Cancer – (1 hour and 38 minutes – from 2015) – Discusses the efforts of people who have successfully pursued their own (“n of 1”) solutions outside the health system standard of care, especially in the case of death sentences of brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme). The main theme is that combinations of therapies (“cocktails”) are the key to attacking all the possible targets and pathways a (heterogeneous) cancer might follow, BUT doctors, regulators, and researchers are resistant to trying cocktails (like with HIV) in our current health system and randomized clinical trial process because:
- They want to try one therapy, using the scientific method, with the standard of care as the base.
- Drug companies don’t want to combine their drugs. And they aren’t motivated to use “discarded” drugs.
- Providers face legal liability and malpractice for doing anything “outside the box”, leading to the lowest common denominator treatments for safety. Experimental treatments only come into play after they have exhausted the standard lines of treatment. Patients must wait for cancer to recur before they can get treatments, rather than addressing them in earlier stages.The system of large scale randomized clinical trials is the problem. Personalized medicine runs against finding homogeneous large batches of patients. Testing one-by-one is too expensive and too time consuming. The alternative in these stories to doing nothing is taking a risk with something.