Dendritic cells in cancer treatment

06/11/2023

CANCER immunotherapy is becoming an important part of treatment regimens. This method is already replacing conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy in some diseases, as it shows better results. Doctors in specialized clinics abroad use dendritic cells in cancer treatment. The dendritic cell therapy aims to enhance the antitumor immune response. Some dendritic cell-based vaccines are already approved for advanced cancers, while others are only available as part of clinical trials. On the Booking Health website you’ll find information about specialized clinics in Germany and dendritic cell immunotherapy cost.

What are dendritic cells?

These are immune cells whose function is to present T-lymphocyte antigens. Dendritic cells are formed in the bone marrow. They enter the bloodstream in an immature state and then mature under the influence of PAMPs (pathogen-associated molecular patterns), DAMPs (damage-associated molecular patterns), and pro-inflammatory cytokines. However, tumor inhibits the maturation of dendritic cells, one of the mechanisms used to evade the immune response.

Studies show that the number of dendritic cells in the body of cancer patients is reduced, and that the remaining dendritic cells cannot fully perform their functions. A reduction in the number of dendritic cells is the main reason for the lack of a full immune response to a developing tumor.

To enhance the effect of dendritic cells on malignant tumors, doctors began to create dendritic cell-based vaccines. After the comprehensive diagnostics, they take cells from the body, stimulate them to mature with tumor antigens, and inject them into the patient’s blood. This triggers an immune response that suppresses tumor growth.

In what areas of oncology can dendritic cells be used?

Cancer treatment with dendritic cells is a new area of oncology. The best results are achieved in treating melanoma, glioma, colon cancer and breast cancer with dendritic cells.

So far, only one dendritic cell-based vaccine has been approved in Europe and the US for the treatment of prostate cancer. The drug is called sipuleucel-T. It involves autologous (the patient’s own) dendritic cells that are activated by prostatic acid phosphatase. Use of the vaccine increases the life expectancy of patients with metastatic cancer by an average of 4 months.

Other vaccines are not yet approved, but some are close. Some cancers that can be treated with dendritic cells are in phase III trials. Promising results have been obtained for the following cancers:

  • In metastatic melanoma, combining dendritic cells with interleukin-2 increases the response rate and survival of patients without cancer progression. 
  • In follicular lymphoma, dendritic cells prolong the duration of chemotherapy-induced remission.
  • Clinical and preclinical studies show that dendritic cells increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy in reducing tumor mass in many diseases, including melanoma, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and liver metastases.
  • Early phase clinical trials in gastric cancer show that chemotherapy is more effective when combined with dendritic cells.
  • In glioblastoma, the use of dendritic cells may increase patient survival and prolong relapse-free survival.

Dendritic cells can rarely be used as a stand-alone treatment. This is usually an additional method to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, checkpoint inhibitor therapy, and other drugs. In recent years, research has been conducted to justify the use of dendritic cells before tumor removal surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.

More than 200 clinical trials of dendritic cell-based vaccines have shown that they are highly immunogenic, safe and can activate the anti-tumour immune response. However, evidence of efficacy is still lacking for the treatment of most cancers. Immunotherapy with sipuleucel-T remains the only approved way to use dendritic cells to treat cancer. Other vaccines can only be used in clinical trials.You are welcome to use the services of the Booking Health company to undergo your dendritic cell treatment abroad. Our service will be helpful for checking the prices in different clinics, comparing the cost and making a treatment appointment at the best price. Our company’s specialists will select the most suitable medical center for immunotherapy and organize your trip.

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