Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Orchestration of an Inmmune Response Unrehearsed Melanoma..Jim Breitfeller

The Orchestration of an Inmmune Response Unrehearsed

In 2006, after two fail attempts (Interferon and Dacarbazine with Patrin) to stop the progression of my melanoma, I was able try CTLA-4 Blockage. It was one of my first choices, but due to protocol, I had to try the FDA approved therapy first. I had researched this monoclonal antibody. On 10-24-2005 when I was first diagnosed with melanoma, I contacted Dr. Luis H. Camacho who was currently at MD Anderson.

Subject: Paper on Antitumor Activity

Luis Camacho, My name is Jim Breitfeller and I have recently been diagnosed with melanoma will need some sort of Ontological therapy after my surgery. I ran across an abstract of yours (Antitumor activity in Melanoma and anti-self responses in Phase 1 trials with the anti-Cyctotoxic T Lymphocyte-Associated Antigen 4 Monoclonal Antibody CP-675,206) in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Is it possible to get a copy of your paper? It can be emailed to the address below.”

Camacho response:

Dear James,

Thank you for your note. The CTLA4 antibodies in melanoma are currently under development and completing the approval process with the FDA (Phase II and Phase III). The overall response rates in my mind will be near 20-30% with a good number of patients attaining long term remissions. However, none of the programs are currently oriented to patients rendered NED (Stage III or IV). They are in fact for patients with advanced disease. From your brief introduction, I think your best options are to obtain an HLA typification and go for an adjuvant trial.

Please feel free to page me if you need further information. Pager is 713.404-5319


CP-675,206, a novel monoclonal antibody, enlists the immune system to fight advanced melanoma

Some Positive Test results of the CTLA-4

"Early testing of an experimental human monoclonal antibody showed a striking benefit in patients with advanced melanoma, say researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Of 39 patients given a single injection of CP-675,206 (known as CP-675), tumors disappeared in three patients, shrunk in a fourth patient, and cancer stopped growing in five other patients. These responses have remained since their initial treatment, which ranged from 13 to 28 months ago.

Most of the patients in the trial had advanced melanoma, which has a median survival of less than a year, says the study's principal investigator, Luis Camacho, M.D., MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology.

"We were very pleasantly surprised to find such objective antitumor responses in a Phase I clinical trial, which is designed to find the ideal dose and to look for side effects," says Camacho. "These results are very early, but they are encouraging to us because there are no good agents available to treat melanoma once it has spread."

Source: Laura Sussman from (ASCO) American Society of Clinical Oncology

At the time of the request, I was not at the correct stage but I knew that this might be the path of the future. I did contact him and we discussed my options at that time. I was just learning the ropes.

On 9/3/06 I contacted Dr. Rosenberg just in case I needed a back up plan if the CTLA-4 blockage did not work. At that time I did not know I was the wrong HLA-02 type for Rosenberg’s trials.

“I am Contacting Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

He is the lead the researcher on the Gene Therapy Trials.
Log onto the CBS website for the story!!!!!!
The research team recently applied to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to try the new cells in about 100 patients. The FDA is expected to respond to the request by mid-September.

Dr. Rosenberg, I just got the news of your Gene Therapy Experiments. The initial results look somewhat promising. I applauded you and your team for making great strides in the cure for melanoma cancer.

I am a cancer patient (48 yrs. old) under the care of Dr. John Kirkwood at the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh. I have gone through a wide incision, lymph nodes removal, Interferon therapy, and Dicarbazine therapy without success. I am presently on track to start a clinical trial with CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies September 13, 2006. I have some tumors on my right side of my back and some in each lobe of my lungs. I would like to be considered for your next round of Gene Therapy in the coming months if I have no response to the CTLA-4 treatment. Please let me know if you would need a copy of my medical records to date.

Thanks again for the great work you are doing and I hope to hear from you in the near future.

Best Regards,

Jim Breitfeller

On 9/5/06 I received a call from Dr. Rosenberg’s office this morning while I was at Dr. Marino’s office. Kathy Morton (Research Nurse) contacted me by phone and asked a few questions about my health. She went on to say if I go with the CTLA-4 therapy, it would take about 2 months to washout before I could try the Gene Therapy. They would also have to do a colon biopsy to check the colon for any adverse conditions from the CTLA_4. She then gave me her direct phone number if I want to pursue the gene therapy at a later date.

So, on 9/13/06 (day 1)I had my first and only infusion of anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies. This was done as an outpatient procedure. Anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibodies block the ability of CTLA4 to down-regulate T cell proliferation. The theory behind this therapy is that by decreasing the inhibitory signal, there will be a subsequent increase in the number of activated T-cells available, to improve the ability of the T-cells to recognize melanoma cells as non-self.

Before we can go any further, we need to know the clinical pharmacokinetics (pk)of anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies. Base on published papers, the predicted half-live of the antibody is around 3 weeks.11 This means your body will eliminate half the dose that was infused in you in about 21days. So, in 42 days or there about, the drug is completely gone from your system.

I started my CTLA-4 treatment at 9:15 am at 100 ml/hr and I had 500 mls hanging on my rack (Miss Daisy). I call the rack Miss Daisy because I have to take it with me where ever I go which includes the bathroom. I am driving Miss Daisy!! This will take us to 3:15 pm and then they draw blood for a pk study an hour later. So, we won’t get out until about 4:30 pm and home until 10:00 pm.

Day 7-9/19/06 “Along with the fatigue, my muscles ache like they have lactic acid in them”. Is this an indication of something? All immune cells begin as immature stem cells in the bone marrow.

Day 15 -9/27/06 about half the CTLA-4 antibodies are depleted. It appears that the CTLA-4 has stimulated my immune system. In the pass week, I noticed that there was redness around the area where my tumors are located. Also it is becoming quite tender in that area. This is Great news!!!!! It appears that the treatment my have kick started my immune system. The only way we will know for sure is another CT scan. That is not scheduled until November 23rd.

I sure hope this isn’t a false positive. Anyway, they gave me an antibiotic just in case it is an infection.

This inflammatory response provides a third signal that acts directly on T cells, referred to as the “danger signal”. “This signal was found to optimally activate TH1 differentiation and lead to clonal expansion of T cells12.

With this clonal expansion of the T cells and the secretion of IL-2, The Immune system is gearing up to make an assault on the foreign invaders, the tumors.

In 1988, a paper was published Autologous Tumor Specific Cytotoxic Lymphocytes in the Infiltrate of Human Metastatic Melanomas Activation by Interleukin 2 and Autologous Tumor Cells, and Involvement of the T Cell Receptor by Itoh and Colleagues.4

In their studies, they propagated (TILs) Tumor infiltrate lymphocytes cells from 12 Metastatic Melanoma patients. They preformed kinetic growth studies in IL-2 and even broke it down three Surface markers (CD3,CD4 and CD8). The results are as follows:

The average maximum propagation was 43 days. (N=12)
The average maximum propagation for (lung, Axilla) was 40 days (n=3)
The average maximum propagation for (CD3) was 78 +/- 11 days (n=12)
The average maximum propagation for (CD4) was 33 +/- 10 days (n=12)
The average maximum propagation for CD4 (lung, Axilla) was 26 days (n=3)
The average maximum propagation for (CD8) was 49 +/- 17 days (n=12)
The average maximum propagation for CD8 (lung, Axilla) was 57 days (n=3)

Base on the above data, it would take about 49 days for my activated T cells to reach maximum propagation.

4. Itoh, K; Platsoucas, CD; Balch, CM
Autologous Tumor Specific Cytotoxic Lymphocytes in the Infiltrate of Human Metastatic Melanomas Activation by Interleukin 2 and Autologous Tumor Cells, and Involvement of the T Cell Receptor [published J . Exp. MED. The Rockefeller University Press. 1988 Oct 1; Vol 168 October 1988 1419-1441

11. H. F. Wang1, J. M. Lovering1, R. M. Shepard1, D. Zhang2, T. A. Smolarek1, J. W. Findlay3 1Pfizer Inc, 2FDA, 3Gilead Sciences Inc; Pharmacokinetics of Tremelimumab, a Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte-Associated Antigen 4 (Ctla4) Blocking Monoclonal Antibody, in Nonhuman Primates

12. Holger N. Lode,1 Rong Xiang,1 Ursula Pertl,1 Elisabeth Förster,2 Stephen P. Schoenberger,3 Stephen D. Gillies,4 and Ralph A. Reisfeld1; 1The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Immunology, La Jolla, California, USA2University Children’s Hospital Vienna, Vienna, Austria3La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, Division of Immune Regulation, San Diego, California, USA4Lexigen Pharmaceuticals Corp., Lexington, Massachusetts, USA Melanoma immunotherapy by targeted IL-2 depends on CD4+ T-cell help mediated by CD40/CD40L interaction; J Clin Invest. 2000 June 1; 105(11): 1623–1630. doi: 10.1172/JCI9177

To be continued!!!!!!

Jimmy B

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Greetings to One and All

This Blog is dedicated My Brother Kenny B. who passed away in the late 1970's with Cancer before the Internet.

It was he, who showed me How to live and give back. He was wise beyond his years.

Kenny B

Jimmy and Dee

Carepage: Jimmybreitfeller
Jimmy Breitfeller

My Profile as of 2009

My photo
Last July (2005)I was riding my bicycle to work at the Eastman Kodak Research Labs about 3 miles from home. I was wearing a knapsack to carry my things to and from the labs. I started noticing an ache on my back. So I decide to go to the dermatologist. To make the long story short, it was cancer. I knew from my research that I would be needing adjuvant therapy. So I started communicating with Sloan Kettering, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center, and a couple of others including the Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong. I realized that by telling my story, I might help someone else out there in a similar situation. So to all who are linked by diagnosis or by relation to someone with melanoma, I wish you well. Stay positive, read as much as you can (information helps to eliminate the fear associated with the unknown), and live for today, as no one can predict what tomorrow may bring. Jimmy B. posted 12/15/08


The information contained within this Blog is not meant to replace the examination or advice of your Oncologist or Medical Team. The educational material that is covered here or Linked to, does not cover every detail of each disorder discussed.

Only your physician/Oncologist can make medical decisions and treatment plans that are appropriate for you. But, An Educated Consumer is a Smart consumer.

As Dr. Casey Culberson Said:

"The BEST melanoma patient is an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT in his or her treatment

Melanoma and the “Magic Bullet” (Monoclonal Antibodies)

Just to let you know I posted the first draft of the Melanoma and the “Magic Bullet” (Monoclonal Antibodies). on Melanoma Missionary In the Shared File Section. you can download it for 19.95 (Only kidding) it is Free for the taking.

It is 33 pages long and may help you in your quest for the Yellow Brick Broad. Just to let you know it is only the first draft. Revisions are sure to come. I wanted to get it to the people that need it the most, the Melanoma Patients.


So, where does Interluekin-2 (IL-2) come into play? According to Byung-Scok et al and recent reports, IL-2 is not needed for developmental CD4+ CD25+ Treg cells in the thymus but does play an important role in the maintenance and function in the peripheral.18 Peripheral is defines as secondary system outside the bone marrow and thymus. It entails the site of antigen, immune system interaction. IL-2 is required for the peripheral generation of Tregs based Abbas’s and colleagues research.19

IL-2 prevents the spontaneous apoptosis of the CD4+ CD25+ Treg cells. It has been reported that patients with multiple advance-stage tumors have elevated levels of Tregs within the tumor microenviroment.20 Interluekin-2 is the survival factor for CD4+ CD25+ Treg cells.21 If the addition of IL-2 is on or before the maximum propagation of the CD4+ T cells, the Tregs population can increase 5-fold in a 96 hour period based on certain growth mediums.

By controlling the addition of the endogenous IL-2, one has a knob to turn and can lead to the control of the expansion of the Tregs. When you combined this control with the anti-CTLA-4 blockage, you can shift the balance of the immune response.

Now here is the catch. The maintenance and function of the CD8+ T-cells require CD4+ cells which secrete IL-2. So we don’t want to deplete the CD4+ cells, we want to control the expansion of the Tregs which are a subset of the CD4+ cells. It has been postulated by some researchers that the Anti-CTLA-4 blockage also suppresses the Treg function in a different mechanism. By using IL-2 as the rate limiting factor, we can suppress the CD4+ CD25+ Treg cell expansion by controlling the concentration and timing of the Inerluekin-2 at the tumor microenvironment.

The Interluekin-2 plays another role in this Melanoma Maze. In a study by Janas et al, Il-2 increases the expressions of the perforin and granzyme A, B and C genes in the CD8+ T-cells. This increase expression causes the CD8+ T-cells to mature into Cytoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs). The exogenous IL-2 is required for the granzyme proteins. As stated previously, CTLs have cytoplasmic granules that contain the proteins perforin and granzymes. A dozen or more perforin molecules insert themselves into the plasma membrane of target cells forming a pore that enables granzymes to enter the cell. Once in the tumor cell, these enzymes are able to breakup (lyse) the cell and destroy it. This is the beginning of the end for the cancer cells. The tumors begin to shrink and the rest is history,

On the other hand, prolong therapy with Il-2 can result in causing apoptotic death of the tumor- specific CD8+ T-cells.23

Clearly in a clinical setting, timing, dose, and exposure to these drugs play a major roll in the immunotherapy, and can have dramatic effects on the outcome.

All it takes is that one magic bullet to start the immune reaction..

Melanoma And The Magic Bullet (Monoclonal Antibodies)

Public Service Announcement

A call for Melanoma Patients by Dr. Steven A Rosenberg

"We continue to see a high rate of clinical responses in our cell transfer immunotherapy treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma", Dr. Rosenberg said.

"We are actively seeking patients for these trials and any note of that on a patient-directed web site would be appreciated."

If you would like to apply for his trials, here is the website and information.

Dr. Rosenberg's information

Dr. Rosenberg's Clinical Trials

For the Warriors

The Melanoma Research Alliance has partnered with Bruce Springsteen, the E Street Band, and the Federici family to alleviate suffering and death from melanoma. Please view Bruce Springsteen’s public service announcement inspired by Danny Federici. Danny was the E Street Band’s organist and keyboard player. He died on April 17, 2008 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City after a three year battle with melanoma.

Source Fastcures blog

Join the Relay for Life!!!


Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve decided to take a stand and fight back against cancer by participating in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event right here in my community! Please support me in this important cause by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online using the link below.

To donate on line now, click here to visit my personal page.
Jimmy B AKA Melanoma_Missionary

Relay For Life® is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people worldwide to:

CELEBRATE the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.

REMEMBER loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.

FIGHT BACK. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.

Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Keep the Fire Burning!!!



Jimmy Breitfeller
Turn off Music before you "Click to Play"
Signs of Melanoma Carcinoma Skin Cancer

How Skin Cancer Develops by " : Dermatology"

Call for Patients with Unresectable Liver Metastases Due to Melanoma

Delcath Systems Granted Orphan-Drug Designations for Cutaneous and Ocular Melanoma

Delcath is actively enrolling patients in a Phase III clinical trial testing its proprietary drug delivery system, known as Percutaneous Hepatic Perfusion (“PHP”), with melphalan for the treatment of ocular and cutaneous melanoma metastatic to the liver.

This NCI-led trial is enrolling patients at leading cancer centers throughout the United States. Commenting on these orphan-drug designations, Richard L. Taney, President and CEO of Delcath, stated, “These favorable designations are important steps in our efforts to secure Delcath’s commercial position upon conclusion of our pivotal Phase III trial for metastatic melanoma. We remain steadfast in our commitment to become the leader in the regional treatment of liver cancers and we continue to enroll patients in this study, and advance our technology and the promise that it offers to patients with these deadly forms of melanoma and other cancers of the liver, all with limited treatment options.”

Orphan drug designation, when granted by the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development, allows for up to seven years of market exclusivity upon FDA approval, as well as clinical study incentives, study design assistance, waivers of certain FDA user fees, and potential tax credits.

Current Trial Centers

Phase I Study of Hepatic Arterial Melphalan Infusion and Hepatic Venous Hemofiltration Using
Percutaneously Placed Catheters in Patients With Unresectable Hepatic Malignancies

James F. Pingpank, Jr., MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Surgical Oncology
Suite 406, UPMC Cancer Pavillion
5150 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
412-692-2852 (Office)
412-692-2520 (Fax)

Blog Archive

Call For Melanoma Patients!!!!

Call For Melanoma Patients!!!!

Dr. Rosenberg Has a New Clinical Trial.

Our latest treatment has a 72% objective response rate with 36% complete responses.

We are currently recruiting patients for our latest trial.

Is there some way to post this “Call for Patients” on the web site?

Steve Rosenberg

Dr. Rosenberg's Clinical Trials

(For a copy of the research paper.. see My Shared files)

The news headlines shown above for Melanoma / Skin Cancer are provided courtesy of Medical News Today.