Friday, October 14, 2011

Identifying and Over Coming Immune Barriers at the Level of the Tumor Microenvironment..Melanoma .Jim Breitfeller

Eleventh International Conference on Progress in Vaccination Against Cancer

Dr. Thomas Gajewski
University of Chicago,Chicago,IL,USA

"Immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of melanoma, such as tumor antigen-based vaccines, can frequently boost immune responses. However, clinical responses as measured by tumor shrinkage are seen in only a minority of patients. This observation has prompted careful analysis of the tumor microenvironment for biologic correlates to clinical response and also to identify mechanisms of tumor resistance. Patients with advanced melanoma treated with antigen-specific vaccines had pre-treatment tumor biopsies analyzed by gene expression profiling. Supervised hierarchical clustering was performed based on clinical outcome. An expanded bank of tumors was analyzed to increase the sample size and better understand gene patterns.
Two major categories of melanoma metastases have been observed.

One subgroup of patient has an inflamed phenotype that includes expression of chemokines, T-cell markers, and other immunoregulatory factors. Clinical responders to melanoma vaccines appear to fall within this subset. This group also contains the highest expression of negative regulatory factors, including PD-L1, IDO, and FoxP3, suggesting that these immunosuppressive mechanisms may dominantly inhibit anti-tumor –cell function in those patients. In addition, absence of B7 expression supports classical T-cell anergy. Preclinical experiments have confirmed a critical role for these mechanisms in limiting anti-tumor T–cell efficacy in vivo, giving candidate treatment strategies for translation back into the clinic.

A second subset of patients is represented by tumors which are non-inflamed and lack chemokines for T cell recruitment. Therefore, a major barrier in these cases appears to be failed T –cell migration into tumor sites. Experimental strategies to augment T-cell migration can have important anti-tumor effects in preclinical models. The presence of the "inflamed" gene signature was associated with a type I IFN transcriptional profile, and murine experimental models have confirmed a critical role for type I IFN signaling in promoting adaptive immunity."

So,In the first subset, tumors had a suppresive nature that may be over riddden by Anti-CTLA-4 (Yervoy) and or Anti-PD-1 Therapy

The second subset was missing the "danger signal" inflammatory cytokines and chemoattractants most likely due to STAT3 signaling from the Tumor.

Stimulation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4) activates macrophages and results in the release of TNF-alpha. It is hypothesized that melanoma inhibits macrophage activation by suppressing TLR-4 signaling.

Cytokines are small proteins which allow cells of the immune system to communicate with one another via cytokine receptors expressed at the cell surface.
Activated macrophages defend against tumors by secreting cytokines to recruit secondary immune cells, presenting antigen to T cells, and by direct tumor cytotoxicity. Peritoneal macrophages harvested from melanoma-bearing mice are less cytotoxic to melanoma cells, and produce less superoxide, nitric oxide, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) than those from nontumor-bearing mice. Similar impairment of macrophage activation occurs in vitro using media harvested from cultured melanoma cells.

Activated Macrophages secrete the following cytokines under different conditions:
IL-1,IL-12,IL-6, IFN-gamma/alpha/beta and TNF-alpha


Interleukin 6 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine and is produced in response to infection and tissue injury. IL-6 exerts its effects on multiple cell types and can act systemically.

IL-6 stimulates liver secretion of acute phase proteins
IL-6 stimulates B-lymphocytes to produce antibodies
IL-6 in concert with IL-1b causes T-cell activation
IL-6 induces STAT 3 Signaling
IL-6 Plus TGF-b induces the Th17 cell phenotype

IL-1 beta

Interleukin-1b is a pro-inflammatory cytokine which is secreted by macrophages activated by a number of stimuli including TNF-alpha, bacterial endotoxin and IL-1b itself.
IL-1b exerts its effects on many different cell types locally at the site of production and systemically (at a distance).


Interleukin-12 is a heterodimer consisting of a p35 and a p40 subunit. Both subunits are required for receptor binding and biological activity.
IL-12 stimulates growth of activated Natural Killer (NK) cells, CD8+ and CD4+ T- cells.
IL-12 increases NK and T-cell g-IFN production which shifts T-cell differentiation towards a Th1-type response.
IL-12 increases NK production of TNF-alpha which can act synergistically with IFN-gamma.
IL-12 suppresses IL-4 induced IgE production.


Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha is made by many other cells as well as macrophages, which are major sources, especially after priming by Interferon gamma.
TNF-alpha initiates a cascade of cytokines which mediate an inflammatory response. TNF-alpha effects are mediated through two types of receptor, a 75kDa TNFR-a receptor and a 55kDa TNFR-b receptor.
TNF-alpha regulates the expression of many genes in many cell types important for the host response to infection.


Macrophages, and many other cells produce these Type I interferons which act as immunomodulatory, as well as antiviral cytokines. Distinct receptor from interferon gamma, mediates overlapping or competing effects on macrophages. Cellular signalling pathways involve Jak/Stats, and other pathways.

So, if Melanoma suppresses Macrophage Activation, then the tumor microenviroment is missing IL-6, IL-1b and other cytokines.

If you look at the above micrographs, you will see that the two patients that had relapsed (10710 and 10737) Had IL-1b and IL-6 missing. The macrophages were not activated!!!! The "Danger Signal" known as inflammation was missing!

The missing combination of IL-1 and IL-6 meant there is no T-cell activation. And no induction of the Th17 phenotype. It is now becoming a lot more clearer based on Dr. Gajewski's findings.

Now might be the time for a critical re-evaluation of our overall approaches to targeting STAT3 and for developing new models for disrupting the protein in order to accomplish the goal of delivering clinically useful direct STAT3 inhibitors as novel anticancer agents in a timely manner.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

~Charles Darwin~
Take Care,
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.