Friday, October 26, 2012

How to integrate immunotherapies into treatment timelines? Timing is everything! Melanoma..Jim Breitfeller

Dr. Gomella,

I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts on immunotherapy in the article in “High Points and Hurdles: Immunotherapy Moves Forward” online at OncLive.

As a patient/survivor/researcher of stage IV melanoma I know first hand of the importance of integrating immunotherapy into a patient’s treatment. Timing of the therapy is everything, along with the patient’s tumor burden and stage.

In the early phase of cancer, the tumor cells are trying to establish a foothold in a foreign land. They do this by recruiting Tregs with cytokines (Il-10, TFG-b etc.) along with chemoattractants and suppressive cells.

Two of the first arrivals are Tregs along with IL-10. In the early phase of cancer, it has been discovered that the patient’s Tregs are elevated along with IL-10 concentration.

So when the macrophages and immune cells arrive at the tumor’s microenvironment, they encounter suppressive conditions allowing the tumor to continue with growth and progress. The elevated IL-10, IL-4 concentration polarizes the monocyte to the M2, and the T-cells to the Th2 phenotypes and shutting down the immune response.

The macrophage also secretes some chemokines (CCL17, CCL22& CCL18). These chemokines attract other cells that have the cell surface chemokine receptors such as CCR4.

Treg cell migration to Melanoma tumors is mediated by CCL22 released by cancer cells and tumor-associated macrophages. This cytokine plays a role in the trafficking of activated/effector T-lymphocytes to inflammatory sites and other aspects of activated T-lymphocyte physiology. Chemotactic for monocytes, dendritic cells and natural killer cells. Mild chemoattractant for primary activated T-lymphocytes and a potent chemoattractant for chronically activated T-lymphocytes but has no chemoattractant activity for neutrophils, eosinophils, and resting T-lymphocytes This attraction is the beginning of the suprresiveness of the the tumor’s microenviroment.

TAM exert strong immune suppressive activity, not only by producing IL-10 but also by the secretion of chemokines (e.g., CCL17 and CCL22), which preferentially attract T cell subsets devoid of cytotoxic functions such as Treg and Th2.

IL-10 promotes the development of a type 2 cytokine pattern by inhibiting the IFN-γ production of T lymphocytes particularly via the suppression of IL-12 synthesis in accessory cells.

IL-10 suppresses many functions of (NK) cells and T cells, primarily by preventing APCs from producing proinflammatory cytokines

So how can we integrate immunotherapies into treatment timelines to generate the wanted immune response toward the cancer?

  1. First, you need to evaluate the cancer patient and establish their stage.
  2. Second, check the tumor’s genetic code for mutations.

  3. Third, evaluate the patient’s overall health and the ability to go through the therapy

    Here is a generic graphic on how to activate an innate and adaptive response.

1) You need to generate tumor-associated Antigens

2) You need to generate “The Danger Signal” (proinflammatory cytokines secreted, IL-1, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-alpha, Nitric Oxide, PGE2)

3) Block the Suppressive factors that inhibit T-cell activation (Anti-CTLA-4, Anti-PD-1, Anti IL-10r) IL-10 suppresses many functions of (NK) cells and T cells, primarily by preventing APCs from producing proinflammatory cytokines, “The Danger Signal”)

4) Tilt the T-cell Differentiation toward the TH1 phenotype and the Macrophage (TAM), Tumor Associated Macrophage polarization toward the M1 phenotype

5) Alter the tumor’s Microenvironment (addition of Multikine)

6) Produce activated CTLs and Memory T-cells(addition of IL-2)

The Bottom line is we need Sequential Combinatorial Therapy with timing and dosage as the major limiting factors in creating the innate and adaptive immune response.

“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


Friday, September 21, 2012

Legislation for Combinatorial Therapy >> Melanoma ..Jim Breitfeller

Congressman Bilbray, and Congresswomen Maloney and DeLaura are submitting legislation today that, if passed, will provide extended patent protection for investigational drugs that are tested in combination. This will provide a major financial incentive for industry to do the kinds of studies they now find difficult but which offer the best hope for melanoma patients. This legislation came out of meetings MRF had with Congressman Bilbray, whose daughter has Stage III melanoma. We proposed the idea to the Congressman and provided a background document showing how similar action in pediatrics and some infectious diseases has resulted in tremendous progress in drug development. Most doctors agree that real advances in effective treatments will only come through combining two or more drugs together. If these drugs are already approved, doing studies like this are relatively easy. If they are not yet approved--still in clinical trials--they are very difficult. Companies worry that any side effects that arise from a combination study will "taint" the data of their drug and hurt its chances of approval. And they are reluctant to collaborate with other companies on these studies. This legislation will add a "carrot" to the mix and will help accelerate these important studies.
“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 Photobucket

You and Your Doctor—Tackling Your Cancer Together..Melanoma..Jim Breitfeller

You and Your Doctor—Tackling Your Cancer Together

 Talking with your doctor openly about your diagnosis and treatment—and keeping informed every step of the way—will help you work with your doctor to make the best possible decisions about your treatment.

 Educate yourself

 Visit websites designed to educate and assist patients with your type of cancer.

 Ask your doctor where you can learn more about your cancer, its treatment and any ongoing research.

Be informed when you talk to your doctor and treatment team.

Ask questions and be proactive.

It’s your health—and your life!

Talk openly with your doctor Molecular testing for cancer-related genes may not be right for everyone, but by staying informed and asking about such testing, you can be sure that every avenue for treating your cancer has been explored. And for you, that may make the difference between treatment that is effective, or not.

Here are some questions you might ask your doctor:

Are there gene mutations identified for my type of cancer?
 Should my tumor be tested for gene mutations?
What can molecular testing tell me about my cancer?
What can molecular testing tell me about my prognosis?
How might molecular testing affect my treatment plan?
How can I get my tumor or biopsy tested?

 “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


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Toronto man dies without access to Bristol-Myers Squibb experimental drug..Melanoma.Jim Breitfeller

Published on Wednesday July 11, 2012

Doherty, 48, died in his Toronto home Tuesday after months of publicly fighting for access to a trial-stage melanoma drug.

Despite pleas from his family, his doctor’s approval and a petition just shy of 200,000 signatures, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) repeatedly refused to provide Doherty with compassionate access to its drug, saying it was not yet safe for use outside clinical trials.

His death raises the question: For a patient with no other chance at survival, do drug companies have the responsibility to let them try a drug even if it could harm them?
This particular drug, immune system off-switch blocker BMS-936558, showed early signs of success in phase one testing but is not yet safe for use outside clinical trials, BMS told the Star.
“While we are unable to comment on specific patient cases, we have the deepest sympathy for those who have lost loved ones to cancer,” company spokeswoman Sonia Choi said in an email Wednesday.

The best way to make cancer medicine broadly available to patients, Choi wrote, is through “carefully controlled clinical trials” that establish the risks and benefits, and “by working with health authorities to successfully register these medicines.”
But when Doherty had cancer in 2007, he responded well to a similar, then-experimental BMS drug. His family felt his medical history made him a good candidate for the new drug — besides, when the cancer returned, they had nothing to lose.

“Obviously we are tremendously upset and disappointed that they chose not to make the exception,” said Doug Boyce, Doherty’s lifelong friend, on the phone from Vancouver.

More than that, Boyce said, friends and family are sad and disappointed that there seems to be no system in place for people who reach the end of treatment options to safely access new drugs from pharmaceuticals, without the company fearing ramifications if the drug fails. “It would seem there’s a gap there.”

Doherty was a caring, giving man who was most proud of his family, Boyce said, his voice breaking. The men grew up together in Oshawa, spending many hours at various cottages, pools and golf courses over the years. Boyce remembers his friend as the man who, when given a month to live in 2007, tossed the papers aside and said, “We won’t speak of that again.”

Doherty’s wife, Rebecca Cumming, thanked the public for the support over the past month and directed donations to the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund or the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

“We always remained hopeful that BMS would change its mind and Darcy would have another miracle. Sadly, that did not happen.


Commentary by a Stage IV Melanoma Survivor:

Bristol-Myers Squibb should be ashamed of itself and should be held accountable for the premature death of Mr. Daoherty. BMY could have granted an exception to their rules and allowed Darcy compassionate care due to the fact that he had no other option.

This puts BMS in a very unethical stance with EGG on their face. (Mr. Lamberto Andreotti)

Bristol-Myers Squibb needs cancer patients to enroll in their clinical trials to test them for efficacy. Without the patient, there would be no trial, no FDA approval, and no product. The patient plays a critical role in the Commercialization of this new drug. So why did BMS refuse compassionate use? It wasn't because they would loose money? They have reeped benefit of Yervoy and their other drug revenues to pay cash to acquire Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. The price (5.3 billion dollars) in CASH!!!!! Bristol could have given away 4 doses to this dying man as the last hope, but no, Bristol Myers refused!!!!

Is Bristol-Myers committed to their social responsiblity, " Help save lives???

Was their Behavoir Ethical???  Or is it all about GREED???

I think it is the latter. This is not the first time that this situation has reared it's ugly head. There were many Patients that lost their lives because Bristol-Myers Squibb closed it's compassionate use of Yervoy for melanoma patientsts, only to open new Clinical trials to create a shortage for the drug.

As a share holder of this company, I am a shamed of their ethical practices.

Here is what is posted on their website.

Our Commitment
To our patients and customers, employees, global communities, shareholders, environment and other stakeholders, we promise to act on our belief that the priceless ingredient of every product is the integrity of its maker. We operate with effective governance and high standards of ethical behavior. We seek transparency and dialogue with our stakeholders to improve our understanding of their needs. We take our commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainability seriously, and extend this expectation to our partners and suppliers.

In our mission to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases, we support a clean and healthy environment and subscribe to policies and practices that merit the trust and confidence of our society.

This is all LIP SERVICE!!!!!!!

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


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Interview With Michael B. Atkins, MD Immunotherapies in Melanoma.Jim Breitfeller

Interview With Michael B. Atkins, MD Immunotherapies in Melanoma: Taking Stock
 Alice Goodman, MA; Michael B. Atkins, MD

 Posted: 07/02/2012

 Editor's Note: Immunotherapy is the only treatment that can produce durable tumor regression in patients with metastatic melanoma. With novel molecularly targeted agents also being developed for metastatic melanoma, the hope is to learn how to combine and sequence these therapies and improve survival for patients with this once universally fatal disease. At the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO®), Dr. Michael B. Atkins, Deputy Director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC, chaired an educational session on immunotherapy in advanced melanoma.

 Medscape caught up with Dr. Atkins to ask him to put into perspective the emerging data on immunotherapy and what questions still need to be answered.

IL-2 Opens the Door Medscape:
 What was the first immunotherapy to show an effect in metastatic melanoma?

Dr. Atkins: High-dose interleukin (IL)-2 received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma in 1998. A number of durable responses were observed and 11% of patients were alive at 5 years.[1] More recent studies have shown that patients with elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels are much less likely to respond to IL-2, with about a 6% response rate in patients with elevated LDH (all partial responses) and about 21% in those with normal LDH levels.[2] Analysis of molecular profiles shows that a significantly larger proportion of patients with BRAF- and NRAS-mutated tumors respond to IL-2 than those who do not have these mutations. Also, we now have information suggesting that tumors with an inflamed phenotype and immune infiltrates have a 2- to 3-fold improved chance of response relative to those with a noninflamed gene expression pattern.

Michael B. Atkins, MD
Medscape: Has IL-2 been combined with other immunotherapies?

Dr. Atkins:
 IL-2 has been combined with vaccine therapy. Results of a randomized trial found that the combination of IL-2 plus vaccine produced response rates of 22.1% compared with 9.7% with IL-2 alone, and a trend was observed toward improved overall survival.[3] Median survival was 17.6 months with the combination of IL-2 plus vaccine vs 12.8 months with IL-2 alone. Very few relapses were seen beyond 2 years in responding patients, a hallmark of effective immunotherapy. However, lower-than-expected response rates were reported for the IL-2-alone group, calling into question how much of an advance this treatment is. Some questions remain: Is this a proof of concept that the immune response can be focused by a vaccine? Will the findings be relevant with novel immunotherapies? Ipilimumab: A Check-Plus for a Checkpoint Inhibitor Medscape: More recently, ipilimumab, a different type of immunotherapy, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. This drug is referred to as the first checkpoint inhibitor, meaning that it interferes with an important downregulatory property of the immune response.

How does this drug work, and what kinds of outcomes does it achieve?

Dr Atkins: The monoclonal antibody ipilimumab blocks CTLA-4, which serves as a coregulatory protein that shuts off the immune response when it binds to a protein on antigen-presenting cells. Blocking CTLA-4 restores immunity. Ipilimumab has been evaluated in a variety of clinical trials. It is administered intravenously once every 3 weeks for 4 doses on an outpatient basis. Its side effects result primarily from induction of immune reactions against normal tissues, but in general, it produces fewer inflammatory systems (eg, fever, chills, hypotension) than those associated with high-dose IL-2. A recent trial compared ipilimumab plus gp100 vaccine vs ipilimumab alone vs the vaccine alone.[4] In both ipilimumab-containing arms, survival was prolonged. One-year survival was 46%, 44%, and 26% for the 3 arms, respectively. Two-year survival was 22%, 24%, and 14%. Few deaths occurred in the ipilimumab-treated patients after 30 months.

Medscape: What about the safety profile of ipilimumab and patient selection?

Dr Atkins:
The toxicities of ipilimumab are related to activation of the immune system and include colitis, dermatitis, endocrine effects, and hepatitis. In clinical trials, all subgroups benefitted from ipilimumab, with the possible exception of patients with elevated LDH. One feature of ipilimumab is apparent disease progression early in the course of treatment followed by a major response, so we have learned that the effect of treatment is not seen immediately. Pooled data from clinical trials suggest that about 25% of patients with metastatic melanoma have long-term benefit from ipilimumab therapy, and the benefit might be greater with a higher dose of the drug. Also, there is a potential role for maintenance therapy with this agent.

Medscape: Has ipilimumab been studied in combination therapy?

Dr Atkins:
A study was conducted in previously untreated patients with metastatic melanoma in which the patients were randomly assigned to dacarbazine alone or dacarbazine plus ipilimumab.[5] Some experts expected better results than were achieved in this first-line setting, and it is possible that dacarbazine may have compromised outcomes.

Medscape: What are the take-home messages about ipilimumab for metastatic melanoma?

Dr. Atkins:
Ipilimumab enables an immune response and antitumor responses in some individuals. This agent is powerful enough to work in the central nervous system and overcome concurrent immunosuppression. The response to ipilimumab may be associated with autoimmunity. Activity of the drug is seen in patients previously treated with IL-2. This drug is an option for most patients with advanced melanoma. Optimal timing of therapy and severe autoimmune toxicities should be considered. We don't know the answers to all of the questions about how to use ipilimumab. Should it be combined with dacarbazine? Should it be used as first-line or second-line treatment? What is the optimal dose and schedule? Does it have a role in maintenance therapy? What is its role in the adjuvant setting? What combinations should be studied? Some possible combination partners are bevacizumab, GM-CSF [granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor], high-dose IL-2, and the novel PD-1 antibody. PD-1 Inhibitor: New Kid on the Block Medscape: At the 2012 annual meeting of ASCO®, we heard exciting preliminary reports about a second checkpoint inhibitor called MDX-1106, a PD-1 antibody.

 How does this immunotherapy work, and what are preliminary observations?

 Dr. Atkins:
On activated T-cells, PD-1 serves as the receptor for PD-L1, which is expressed on tumor cells. When PD-L1 binds to PD-1 inside the tumor microenvironment, it paralyzes T-cell immune function. Blocking the interaction between PD-L1 and PD-1 with an antibody provides a specific way to activate the immune system within the tumor microenvironment. It is hypothesized that this would provide a less toxic and more potent means of activating the immune system. Several presentations at ASCO® on this novel immunotherapy showed exciting preliminary results. A large phase 1 study evaluated MDX-1106 given every 2 weeks for up to 2 years in patients with melanoma, renal, and non-small cell lung cancer.[6] Durable responses were seen in all 3 malignancies. In the melanoma patients, about half had tumor shrinkage and some responses were quite significant. This novel therapy will move forward in clinical development for patients with melanoma, either as a single agent or in combination. A number of PD-1 and PDL-1 blockers are under development. Which Patients Are Right for Immunotherapy?

Medscape: How do you select patients for treatment with immunotherapy?

 Dr Atkins: Patients with metastatic melanoma are not all the same. There are 2 basic phenotypes: noninflamed and inflamed. Data suggest that the second phenotype is associated with a better prognosis; that is, the greater the percentage of immune cells within a tumor, particularly CD8+ T cells, the better the prognosis. As mentioned previously, patients with tumors expressing an immune signature are more likely to respond and to exhibit a longer progression-free survival than those with tumors that do not have this signature. Studies suggest that PDL-1 expression appears to be associated with benefit, because patients without PD-L1 expression were less likely to respond to PD-1 antibody.[6-8] Sequencing: Which Therapy, and When? Medscape: What is the current thinking on sequencing of therapies? Dr Atkins: In addition to immunotherapies, several new targeted therapies are on the horizon. Vemurafenib, which targets tumor containing a BRAF V600E mutation, is approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma, and other BRAF and MEK inhibitors are being studied. These therapies may be able to be used in combination with immune therapies to improve outcomes. Most patients would like a chance to be cured. Immune therapies are the only curative therapies for advanced melanomas. Thus, if patients can receive an immune therapy, it may be better to give it first. For BRAF wild-type tumors (those without the BRAF V600E mutation) and even for the BRAF-mutated tumors, it might make sense to give patients an immunotherapy first to try to produce long-term benefit and reserve the use of a BRAF inhibitor for those patients who don't respond to immunotherapy. Data suggest that giving an immunotherapy first does not reduce the ability to respond to a BRAF inhibitor. On the other hand, patients who progress on vemurafenib do not appear to respond to ipilimumab. In fact, in a small study of 32 patients whose disease progresses on vemurafenib, 50% were dead within 4 months.[9] Only 3 of the 32 patients were alive longer than 1 year, and all of them were back on a BRAF or a MEK inhibitor. These preliminary data suggest that a BRAF inhibitor may not be the best initial therapy for some, if not most, patients with BRAF V600E mutations. A prospective trial is needed to study this question. A sequencing study is being planned by ECOG that has 2 arms: ipilimumab with crossover to vemurafenib at time of progression vs vemurafenib with crossover to ipilimumab at time of progression. The primary endpoint will be overall survival at 2 years. The study should tell us which is the best initial therapy for patients with BRAF mutant metastatic melanoma.

More Work to Be Done Medscape: Are there any potential downsides to combining immunotherapy and targeted therapy?

Dr Atkins: By combining immunotherapy and targeted therapy, the hope is to get the benefits of both worlds. But there are potential problems. Studies suggest that dacarbazine interferes with the immune effects of ipilimumab; however, preliminary data suggest that BRAF inhibitors might increase immune infiltration into tumors, converting the microenvironment from a noninflamed state to an inflamed state. Theoretically, this might mean that the combination of a BRAF inhibitor with immunotherapy might produce synergistic antitumor benefits. Medscape: What can you say to sum up where we are with melanoma immunotherapy in 2012? Dr Atkins: We have IL-2 and ipilimumab, and there are novel immunotherapies on the horizon, including the PD-1 antibody. We will need studies to refine optimal patient selection and identify the best combination treatments, including a BRAF inhibitor either alone or in combination with MEK inhibitors. The field has advanced, and in 2012 it is no longer futile to treat metastatic melanoma. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, but there is still a lot of work to be done.


“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


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trying to take the guess work out of finding the correct immunotherapy for Melanoma Patients.Jim Breitfeller

As a stage IV survivor/researcher of Melanoma, I know first hand how it feels to be diagnosed with stage IV cancer. You, your family and your caretaker becomes overwhelmed by the information that must be absorbed and processed to make an educated decision on what therapy you want to try. Don’t get me wrong, your oncologist will play a major in your decision, but is it the right one? Is he trying to fill some of his clinical trials or is he looking out for your best interest? Armed with the right information, one can make the best possible choice. It shouldn’t be a hit or miss approach because with cancer, time is of the essence. Getting to the right therapy before you end up at the late stage IV of your disease is the name of the game. In my therapy, that was my goal, find the right therapy before it overcomes your internal organs and kills you. So, in 2005, I asked my doctor John M Kirkwood if they would take my tumors and biopsy them for gene analysis. Back in 2005, this analytical activity was revolutionary and not done as a standard of care. So in 2005, I contacted Arlet Alarcon from the Molecular Profiling Institute. I tried to convince Dr. John M. Kirkwood, but it was not to be. But now to fast-forward to 2012 and you will see molecular profiling your tumor becoming common practice. So with this in mind, here are some suggestions to get you on the right path. 1.) Assemble a team of doctors that specialize in your cancer. 2.) Make sure they see you as a major part of the team and the decision making. (Be your own advocate) 3.) Learn the medical language so you can research and stay abreast of the new therapies that are being discovered daily. 4.) Learn how your immune system works and how the therapies interact with the immune system. 5.) Be POSITIVE!!!
Here is the latest slide from "Evolving Treatment Options in Melanoma: Utilizing Genetic Features to Optimize Therapy" by Dr. Ribas

permission granted from Clinical Care Options – Oncology SOC= Standard of Care
What I am trying tell is that by optimizing your personal therapy, you can extend your survival. “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 Photobucket

Monday, June 18, 2012

ACTION! Help Save the Life of Darcy Doherty, Father of Three Children to get immunotherapy drug for melanoma..Jim Breitfeller

ACTION! Help Save the Life of Darcy Doherty, Father of Three Children to get immunotherapy drug Anti-PD-1 (BMS-936558)  for melanoma.

Please write to Dr. Elliot Sigal at Bristol Myer Squibb

Dr. Sigal is the Director of Research at BMS.
Please send a note to Dr. Sigal requesting that BMS open compassionate use for Mr. Doherty. I know it is a long shot/ Hail Mary Pass but, base on my research, this drug with the combination of IL-2 may be able to beat the odds.

Bristol Myer Squibb says "At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are firmly focused on our Mission to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases."

Is this all lip service? Let see if BMS puts their money where their mouth is and grant this compassionate care use for this derserving family. Doherty with his clinal trial of Yervoy (Anti-CTLA-4 therapy) helped get the drug FDA approved through his survival data. The least Bristol could do is to grant the dying man compassionate use of the next generation drug called Anti-PD-1, (BMS-936558)

Bristol-Myer Squibb needs to show some compassion.

It is their ETHICAL Responsibility.

“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


Sunday, June 17, 2012

A very Happy Father's Day from a stage IV Melanoma Survivor..Jim Breitfeller

I want to thank all the people that has made this day a very special Day.

As a stage IV Melanoma Survivor, I never dreamed that I would be here today to witness my children spread their wings and learn to fly. My daughter was just entering college when I was first diagnosed and my son, Chris was a sophmore in High School. Today, I am preparing to help my son relocate to Connecticut. He just landed an engineering job at an areospace company. My daughter, Jessica is globe-trotting around the world working on her dual Masters in "International Affairs" and "Natural Resources & Sustainable Development". This day, marks Dee and I as offically "Empty Nesters".

This all was made possible by entering a journey that entailed four clinical trials along with the best and internationally renowned medical team that makes climbing Mt. Everst apiece a cake. And you , My carepage friends that kept me on the "Yellow Brick Road". I have won the "lottery of life."

Many Thanks

“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

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dying man fights to get experimental drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb..Melanoma ..Jim Breitfeller

Emily Jackson Staff Reporter Darcy Doherty’s last chance at life lies in an experimental drug. The yet-to-be-approved treatment is the only option left for the 48-year-old father of three with metastatic melanoma, believes his oncologist Dr. David Hogg, an attending physician at Princess Margaret Hospital. But maker Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) refuses to give Doherty the drug, saying it’s not yet safe for use outside the clinical trial, which Doherty was excluded from because of new cancer growth in his brain. That reason is simply not good enough for Doherty’s family and friends. If he will certainly die without the drug, why not let him try it? “They have an ethical responsibility to try to save a life,” his wife Rebecca Cumming said as she handed out “Help Save Darcy” stickers at the Ride to Conquer Cancer Sunday. “I think they’re afraid it will be harder to get the drug to market if the drug brings harm to patients like Darcy.” About 30 family friends were at the fundraiser to promote a petition pressuring BMS to give Doherty access to the drug by Father’s Day. Wait much longer, Cumming said, and it will be too late. More than 171,000 have signed the plea. “We love our dad very much and we want a lot more time with him,” Doherty’s emotional 13-year-old son Ganden said in a video. A cancerous mole was first removed from Doherty’s back in 2003. By 2007 the cancer spread to his brain. He survived because of a then-experimental drug. His doctor said immune system off-switch blocker BMS-936558, which has had success in phase one of testing, could have similar benefits. BMS is aware of the petition, but did not budge on its decision. The company empathizes with patients who have limited treatment options, said spokeswoman Sonia Choi in a statement Sunday. Compassionate use requests are carefully reviewed using information from a patient’s physician, she said. To get access, the benefits must outweigh the risks. “At this time, there are not enough data on BMS-936558 to allow its use outside of a clinical trial.” Choi could not provide a timeframe on when more data might become available. The trial’s final stages are set for later this year or early 2013. “In the long term, the best way to ensure the broadest access for patients is to successfully register a medicine with health authorities through the conduct of well-controlled clinical trials.” “There’s no obligation on the drug companies to provide compassionate relief,” said Bernard Dickens, professor emeritus of health law and policy at the University of Toronto. BMS “can’t invest money in handing out unproven products if they’re not going to get data for study purposes.” But if the drug wasn’t safe enough to test on humans, it would not go to stage-two testing, argued advocate Frank Burroughs, founder of American organization the Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs. For now, Doherty tires quickly. Sitting in his wheelchair at the fundraiser, the former big-bank financial services managing director called the petition an “amazing show of the human spirit.” He thinks it’s “kind of crazy” that he can’t get the drug. “It doesn’t hurt to give a guy a chance.” Source: We have seen this type of action numerous times with BMS.They did this with Yervoy in the early days, closing compationate use. They appear to have no compassion or ethics, Just Greed!!!! to make a buck. I believe Bristol Myer Squibb is doing a disservice to the Cancer Community especially the Melanoma Patients.


"What sets us apart? We believe it's our commitment to patients with serious diseases, our focus on finding innovative medicines that combat those diseases, and our dedication to extending and enhancing human life."

There is no commitment to patients with stage IV Melanoma.

They have dollars Signs in the eyes and don't give a cr%& about the patients.

This is what Big Pharma has become. (Greed)

Take Care,

“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

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Anti-PD-1 (BMS-936558, MDX-1106) in patients with advanced solid Melanoma tumors: Clinical activity, safety, and a potential biomarker for response.Melanoma ..Jim Breitfeller

I have been following this new treatment for a number of years and am trying to get my arms around the science.

When a T-cell is activated, the PD-1 , CTLA-4, ICOS, and others molecule are expressed and upregulated to the surface of the T-cell. Both PD-1 and CTLA-4 are checkpoint molecules that regulate the immune response. They are inhibitory to the point that they can shut down T-cell activation. ICOS on the other hand is a costimulatory molecule that is needed, along with IL-2 to keep the T-cell activated and help proliferate the T-cells.Elevated levels of ICOS mRNA can be detected already one hour after TCR engagement, followed by surface expression within 12 hours. Protein expression reaches a maximum after 48 hours and declines then slightly.

It has been shown that ICOS is inducible within 48 hours of T  cell activation on both CD4+ and CD8+ cells  after  CD28 signaling  whereas cytotoxic T lymphocyte  antigen-4 (CTLA-4) ligation prevents its upregulation.

First, CTLA-4 engagement on resting T-cells was found to indirectly block ICOS costimulation by interferring with the signals needed to induce ICOS cell surface expression. Second, on preactivated cells that had high levels of ICOS expression, CTLA-4 ligation blocked the ICOS-mediated induction of IL-4, IL-10, and IL-13, suggesting an interference with downstream signaling pathways. The addition of IL-2 not only overcame both mechanisms, but also greatly augmented the level of cellular activation suggesting synergy between ICOS and IL-2 signaling.

So after T-cell Activation, IFN gamma is secreted (30 minutes), then IL-2 is secreted (45 minutes in) and so on,

The surface expression of ICOS is within 12 hours of activation. Since CTLA-4 blocks ICOS costimulation, Yervoy (anti-CTLA-4) must be used to counter the surpressive signalling. PD-1 also upregulates to the surface in the early activation process. PD-1 is upregulated within 24h after T cell activation.PD-1-Mediated Suppression of IL-2 Production Induces CD8+ T Cell ... anergy was associated with a marked down-regulation of IL-2.

Blockade of PD-1 by monoclonal antibodies specific to its ligands (PD-L1 and PD-L2) results in significant enhancement of proliferation and cytokine (gamma interferon [IFN-gamma] and interleukin-2 [IL-2] secretion by tumor-specific CTLs. PD-1 blockade also resulted in down-regulation of intracellular FoxP3 expression by Tregs.

PD-1 blockade seem to augment the proliferation of the CD4+ helper cells.

Now you know why just using Anti-PD1 and or Yervoy as a monotherapy will not have a large response rate. Combinational Therapy is a must if we are to see synergistic responses. IL-2 also plays a major roll in the immune response. IL-2 is added to help maintain fuctionality and survival of the Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs) that is despartly needed to eradicate the Melanoma tumors. Our immune system can cure cancer, I am living proof of it.

Jimmy B

“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

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Promising New Approach To Treating Cancer Means Hope For Many, But Remember This Is Just The Start Of The Journey..Melanoma ..Jim Breitfeller

Promising New Approach To Treating Cancer Means Hope For Many, But Remember This Is Just The Start Of The Journey

A while back , in 2011 I wrote about combinatorial therapy as the way to form a curative therapy for melanoma.See blog entry "“Schedule and Dose for Combination Therapy,”

It is now just starting to gain acceptance in the oncology world ASCO 2012. You need to block multiple pathways to shutdown the tumor's ability to side-step the immune system.If you search on my blog using the search field, you will be able to follow the science.

“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

Friday, May 11, 2012

Immunotherapy of cancer in 2012..Melanoma ..Jim Breitfeller

This is a great summary of Immunotherapy as we know it today. A must read for cancer patients, caregivers, Oncologists.

Download it today!!!
Melanoma Immunotherapy of cancer in 2012

It is somewhat technical but should be in the patient's, caregiver's and Oncologist's library. Knowledge is power. Power to heal ones disease.

“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


Thursday, May 3, 2012

An enzyme called tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase or (TDO) enables tumors to avoid detection and rejection by the immune system..Melanoma .Jim Breitfeller

An enzyme called tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase or (TDO) enables tumors to avoid detection and rejection by the immune system

NEW YORK, NY, May 3, 2012 – The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) announced today the launch of a private biotechnology enterprise, iTeos Therapeutics SA, to develop a novel pre-clinical pipeline of immunomodulators to stimulate the immune system's ability to attack cancer

iTeos co-founder and CEO Michel Detheux, Ph.D. "We now know that combination treatments are likely to be more effective than single therapies in controlling and eventually eliminating cancer. iTeos will pursue this approach by combining existing vaccines with new immunodulatory compounds based on research that has just emerged from the Ludwig Institute."

Cancer immunotherapy

— leveraging the body’s own immune system to attack and destroy tumors — is emerging as a promising method for cancer treatment. Clinical testing of several immunotherapeutic approaches has shown variable success. Tumors often develop survival mechanisms to prevent the attack from the immune system. Researchers are now looking to evaluate the mechanisms that enable these tumors to escape detection by the immune system.

Previously, Brussels scientists from LICR and the de Duve Institute at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) studied one enzyme that proved to do just that. It is known as indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase or IDO1 for short. IDO1 is expressed in many cancers, including prostate, colon, pancreas and cervical tumors. IDO1 blocks the immune system’s ability to reject those tumors, by depriving immune cells of tryptophan. Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids for the body.

Tryptophan is an amino acid needed for normal growth in infants and for nitrogen balance in adults. It is an essential amino acid, which means your body cannot produce it -- you must get it from your diet.

Tryptophan can be found in:

• Cheese
• Eggs
• Fish
• Milk
• Nuts
• Peanut butter
• Peanuts
• Pumpkin seeds
• Sesame seeds
• Soy
• Tofu
• Turkey
Scientists from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) in Brussels identified a new target for cancer therapy, an enzyme which prevents the immune system from recognizing and destroying certain types of tumors. Called tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase or TDO, the enzyme works by depriving immune cells of tryptophan, an amino acid essential to their activity. TDO is produced by a significant number of human tumors including melanomas.

The Ludwig Institute is now applying this knowledge and now is investigating inhibitors of these two enzymes (IDO and TDO).

“Little is known about the TDO enzyme and its ability to trick the immune system and prevent it from destroying deadly tumors” said study lead investigator, Benoit J. Van den Eynde, M.D., Ph.D., Brussels Branch Director at LICR.

The (Belgium) team of scientists then developed an active compound to inhibit TDO enzymatic activity. “Our study showed quite beautifully that the TDO inhibitor restored the ability of mice to reject tumors despite the presence of TDO in tumor cells,” said Dr. Van den Eynde

Cancer research is like analyzing an onion; you pull one layer off at a time and discover another layer of suppression from the tumor’s microenvironment. We are forever gaining knowledge about the immune system. The CURE will come from Combinatorial Therapy!!!

“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


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Complexities of cancer elude magic bullet..Melanoma ..Jim Breitfeller

Complexities of cancer elude magic bullet

"True change will entail extending survival not by months, but by years, moving ever closer to the five-year cancer-free mark that is considered a cure. Unfortunately, this remains an elusive goal for many types of cancer due to the near inevitability of recurrence.
The reasons for this are many and controversial, but few dispute that the problem lies in the complexity of cancer, the growth and metastasis of which involve multiple processes, pathways and cell types. Because most drugs target only one of the many factors that give rise to cancer, it is not surprising that the disease so commonly displays an aptitude for evading them.
Given cancer's complexity, most agree that the long-coveted cure will be found not in a magic bullet, but in a combination of bullets aimed simultaneously at several specific targets. Here, immune-based drugs present a number of distinct advantages: their favorable safety profile is conducive to combination therapy, and a number of different immunotherapy candidates have shown promising activity against well-established tumor targets.
However, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires each of these experimental treatments to be tested individually, it is far from clear that any of these products alone could pass the demanding test of significantly improving overall survival - even if there is good reason to believe that they could provide significant benefit together. " ~Swiss Trader~

We need the FDA to consider Combinatorial Therapy as a new Product/Process that is capable to win this war on Cancer.
I have lived it first hand, and have benefited from this form of therapy. It was no fluke that I was able to jump-start my immune system. With the help of my Oncologist we were able to string the right clinical trials together to produce the right immune response. Some day we will all look back to this day and say to ourselves, why did no one take notice.
The CURE is right under our noses. Think outside the box!

Best regards,

Jimmy B

“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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Giving Thanks… Five Years Later..Melanoma..Jim Breitfeller

Giving Thanks… Five Years Later

Back in July of 2005 I was diagnosed with Melanoma Cancer. It has turned my life inside out and upside down. Here is a note that I sent to my colleagues at Eastman Kodak.

Dear Friends and Family,

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I’ll be leaving my position at Eastman Kodak Company as of March 9, 2007. I will be starting a new phase of my life trying to win this battle of cancer. My short term disability ends and the long term starts.

I have enjoyed my 25 years there and I appreciate having had the opportunity to work with each and every one of you. Thank you for the support, guidance, and encouragement you have provided me during my time at Kodak. Even though I will miss my colleagues and the company, I am looking forward to this new challenge and to starting a new phase of my life. Even though the paths are many, I must go down each one to find the “Yellow Brick Road.” With your support and encouragement we can beat this disease together.

Please keep in touch,

Jimmy B

It has been five years now and I believe I accomplished what I had set out to do, that was to beat this disease melanoma. With the help of family, carepage friends and researchers, oncologists, we have come a long way. I have spent most of my waking hours researching and helping fellow melanoma comrades traverse the canyons of this disease. Along the way I have met and lost so many friends to this disease and only wish that they could be here today to celebrate with me.

Without you, I would not have been so focused on finding a cure. So today , I just want to say thanks for everything. Thanks for keeping me on the right path and believing in me. We are making great inroads in understanding the immune system and how it can be trained to eradicate Cancer. We are in the emergence of the renaissance (A rebirth) of Immunology and Combinatorial Therapy. I believe whole heartedly that we will see a Cure for cancer in my lifetime.

We must keep on persevering to obtain that goal.

Jimmy B

“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


Friday, April 27, 2012

Macrophage Activation… The Missing Link to Activation an immune response to Melanoma..Jim Breitfeller

"The development of Th1 cells producing high levels of IFN-gamma could not be induced with dendritic cells alone but required the addition of appropriately activated macrophages." Et al A. O'Gara March 23, 1993 "Dendritic cells and macrophages are required for Th1 development of CD4+ T cells from αβ TCR transgenic mice: IL-12 substitution f.or macrophages to stimulate IFN-γ production is IFN-γ-dependent"
Local IL-12 therapy stimulates Th cells to secrete Th1 cytokines. Exogenous IL-12 application creates an environment rich in IL-12 around the cancer site. In such a local environment, newly activated Th cells, responding to the presence of cancer, exit the blood and are influenced to become Th1 cells and secrete more Th1 cytokines and activate macrophages and NK cells. Activated macrophages will produce more IL-12 and via positive feedback, cell-mediated immunity can be promoted to battle the cancer thereby leading to the prevention of reoccurrence. As you can see, the activated macrophage secretes IL-12, IL-1a, IL-1b, and IL-6 along with a Chemoattractant, IP-10. Without macrophage activation, the immune response does not take place and the patient will relapse.(see graphic below)
With IL-1b and IL-6 missing, the T-Regulatory Cells (Tregs) rule the Tumor's Microenviroment. IL-6 controls Th17 immunity by inhibiting the conversion of naive CD4+ T cells into Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. IL-1β–Mediated Signals Preferentially Drive Conversion of Regulatory T Cells but Not Conventional T Cells into IL-17–Producing Cells (Danger Signal).So if the IL-1b signaling is missing,conversion of the Tregs never take place along with no Danger Signals.
Dr. Steven Rosenberg is using engineered T-cells that secrete IL-12 to stimulate Th cells to secrete Th1 cytokines. This sets in motion the positive feed back loop needed to initiate an immune response. His therapy is show great promise. “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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Interview with Dr. Jim Allison. ..The making of Yervoy..Melanoma..Jim Breitfeller

To Cure cancer, your immune system  must make memory cells that can distingush Melanoma cancer when and if you relapse. This done in at initial stage of T-cell Differentation and propagation. You must have the right Melieu (An environment or a setting) in place. This can be done with Systematic Combinatorial Therapy.
“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 Photobucket

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thinking outside the Box for the Elderly Melanoma Cancer Patients..Jim Breitfeller

Immunotherapy and Cancer - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -
New rules of engagement for older patients The body’s immune system does weaken with age, but it also changes, and that changes the rules for fighting disease within the body. Dr. Curiel’s group started by examining an immune therapy that they previously had shown to work in younger hosts, including cancer patients. It’s designed to eliminate regulatory T cells (called Tregs), which are cells that turn off immune responses, allowing cancer to progress. Tregs increase in cancer. In young hosts, the drug turns off Treg activity, allowing the immune system to function better. In older hosts, even though the drug turns off the Tregs, it has no clinical benefit. Dr. Curiel asked the question why, and in this paper his team explains the answer. In older mice, when the drug turned off the Tregs, the researchers found that another type of immune suppressor cell (a myeloid-derived suppressor cell or MDSC) exploded in number to take the Tregs’ place, hampering clinical efficacy. That did not happen in young mice. The team added a second drug that targets the MDSC, and found that with those tools to help immunity, the older hosts can combat cancer just as well as the younger hosts. Adding the second drug afforded no clinical benefit to young hosts, as their MDSC numbers had not increased. “We’ve shown that an aged immune system can combat cancer just as well as a young one if you remove the impediments to successful immunity, which are different than those in younger hosts,” Dr. Curiel said. “We’ve shown that if you test all your immune therapy just in young mice and young people, you’ll never learn how it works in older patients — the ones most at risk for cancer. You might conclude that drugs don’t work in aged hosts, when they do. But they have to be combined with some help.” Human trials on the horizon The next step is to test these concepts in an immune therapy clinical trial for elderly patients, which the research team plans to do, Dr. Curiel said. The drug that is added is anti–Gr-1 antibody and would have to get approval from the FDA, meaning Clinical Trial. With that said, What if we added 5-Fluorouracil to immunotherapy like Yervoy and or Anti-PD1. 5FU immunogenic effects are primarily attributable to MDSC depletion. 5-Fluorouracil selectively kills Tumor-Associated Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Resulting in Enhanced T Cell–Dependent Antitumor Immunity. This would be the one, two punch for elderly cancer patients. Let's Think outside the box. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) have been identified as a population of immature myeloid cells with the ability to suppress T-cell activation in humans and mice. These cells accumulate in the blood, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and at tumor sites in many human cancers and animal tumor models, and inhibit both adaptive and innate immunit. They notably have the capacity to inhibit CD8+ T cell antigen-specific reactivity by different mechanisms, mainly through their capacities to produce nitric oxide and radical oxygen species.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~Charles Darwin~ Take Care, Jimmy B Photobucket

Friday, April 13, 2012

I finally have some good news to report!..Julie..Melanoma ..Jim Breitfeller

I finally have some good news to report!

Quick review: Dx Feb 2011 WLE SNLB positive microscopic 1 node. Complete rt groin dissection- rest of nodes negative. Did high dose interferon May 2011, 1 high dose injection then stopped. Surgery July 1 for recurrence at bottom of lymph node scar. Did 4 rounds biochemo- July , august, sep, oct. Recurrence again in same area surgery end November. Started Yervoy end dec had 2 rounds then did radiation to right leg 20 treatments. Finished 4th Yervoy on 2/15/2012.

First PET/CT post Yervoy 02/28/2012 showed "Extensive progression of malignant disease with development of multiple, hepatic, osseous and pulmonary metastatic lesions."

Labs were also awful- LDH got up to 414. Liver enzymes markedly elevated alk phosphatase 374, ast 499, alt 1106.

Labs yesterday-LDH 152 normal!!. Liver enzymes alk phosphotase 142, ast 81, alt, 111 these are still a little high, but markedly improved.
PET/CT: " Very pronounced improvement in metastatic disease. Most of the pulmonary modules noted previously are no longer visible. A few small punctate nodules remain. Only one has identifiable activity on PET portion with < 1 SUV. It measures only a few millimeters. Hepatic metastatic disease has significantly improved. Very significant improvement in skeletal metastatic disease. Many lesions are no longer visible."

Can't stop doing the happy dance.

I'm praying for all to see some improvement in their disease and even a cure.
Hope this post gives some hope to others. I really wonder if the biochemo with IL2 followed by Yervoy along with some radiation is the key to my body finally getting the message.

Julie in Las Vegas

Julie, Congrats!!!!!

"I really wonder if the biochemo with IL2 followed by Yervoy along with some radiation is the key to my body finally getting the message .".."

You are right on target. The biochem with IL-2 primed your Immune system, while Yervoy deactivated the T-Regs cell suppression of your T-cells. Radiation added the tumor cell debris that is needed to be presented on the Dendritic Cells which are acting as the Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs). The process can be presented in this Diagram.

Remember the this blog. It will lead to a CURE!!! Combinatorial Therapy

“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


Monday, March 19, 2012

Stanford researchers boost potency, reduce side effects of IL-2 protein used to treat Melanoma cancer..Jim Breitfeller

I am still a firm believer that IL-2 is essencial to develop the right immune response aganist Melanoma Cancer. The correct timeline is needed to activate the (CTLs) Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes. IL2 must be added to the therapy 50 days after the initial T-cell Activation to achieve the robust response.

Stanford researchers boost potency, reduce side effects of IL-2 protein used to treat cancer

“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


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Redirecting the Melanoma Tumor’s Microenvironment in Favor of the Activation of T-cells..Jim Breitfeller

Studies show that regulatory T (Treg) cells play a detrimental role in cancer immunotherapy because these cells accumulate in the tumor microenvironment and suppress immune responses. Moreover, Researchers recently showed the presence of tumor-specific CD4+, CD8+, and γδ Treg cells in several types of tumors, suggesting that they can induce antigen-specific, local immune tolerance at tumor sites. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MSC) could also play an important role in inhibiting immune responses and chronic inflammation, which has been linked to cancer development and progression. Both tumor-associated macrophages/DCs and MSCs promote tumor growth either by secreting immunosuppressive cytokines, including interleukin 10 (IL-10), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and IL-1β, or by inducing Treg cell differentiation. More importantly, tumor cells have been shown to express inhibitory factors (IL-10, TGF-β, GAL-3, and IDO) to alter T-cell function. Immunosuppressive factors, such as FasL and TGF-β expressed by tumor cells, may directly inhibit tumor-reactive T-cell expansion or induce T-cell apoptosis. A recent studies suggest that tumor-associated galectin-1(Gal-1) and or Gal-3, a membes of the animal lectin family, contributes to tumor immune escapes by inhibiting the function of tumor-reactive T cells. Therefore, tumor cells constantly modulate T-cell responses by presenting tumor antigens and secreting immunoregulatory cytokines. Understanding the interplay between tumor cells and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment is essential for the development of effective cancer immunotherapy.

Researchers tested whether Gal-3 could activate other tumor-reactive or antigen-experienced T cells. Five melanoma-reactive T-cell lines, one prostate cancer–derived T-cell line, and two breast cancer–derived T-cell lines were selected and cocultured with 293 cells expressing Gal-3 for 12 to 16 h. they found that Gal-3–expressing 293 cells activated all of these T-cell lines to secrete IFN-γ but failed to activate naive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells purified from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of healthy donors . Suggesting that naive T-cell activation requires a strong T-cell receptor (TCR)-mediated activation, whereas tumor-reactive T cells can be readily activated by Gal-3. They also evaluated the cytokine profiles of CT28 T cells on Gal-3 stimulation. Gal-3 induced a high level of IFN-γ, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and low to middle levels of IL-4, which is similar to cytokine production induced by anti-CD3 (OKT3) stimulation. This is an indication that the Gal-3 complexes with the TCR synapse causing impaired signaling. Gal-3 binds and activates tumor-reactive T cells through carbohydrate-specific interaction.

Galectin-3 (GAL-3) localize mainly in Tumor cells, macrophages, epithelial cells,
Fibroblasts , and activated T-cells. Although galectin-1 has been shown to induce T-cell apoptosis, galectin-3 has conversely been shown to prevent cell death induced by Fas ligation. Galectin-3 has been shown to rescue cells from apoptosis by protecting against alterations of the mitochondrial membrane and formation of reactive oxygen species. A growing body of evidence supports the involvement of galectin-3 in tumor growth and metastasis.

Galectin-3 and IL-10 receptor needs to be inhibited to break the rest of the tolerance so the immunotherapy can have a greater effect with a better response rate.

Radiation + Yervoy + Anti-PD-1 + Anti-IL-10 receptor + GAL-3 Inhibitor= Robust immune response

“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

Monday, March 12, 2012

Is this the smoking gun to Melanoma and the reoccurrence the plasticity of the Macrophages?..Jim Breitfeller

Is this the smoking gun to Melanoma and the reoccurrence the plasticity of the Macrophages? The (TAM) Tumor Associated Macrophage or more precisely M2-Like Phenotype.
In my search for answers, I have been focusing in on how the tumor escapes detection by the immune system. We need to know what is going on in vivo during the different stages of melanoma.

The tumor mass is undoubtedly a multifaceted show, where different cell types, including neoplastic cells, fibroblasts, endothelial, and immune-competent cells, interact with one another continuously. Macrophages represent up to 50% of the tumor mass, and they certainly operate as fundamental actors. Macrophages constitute an extremely heterogeneous population; they originate from blood monocytes, which differentiate into distinct macrophage types, schematically identified as M1 (or classically activated) and M2 (or alternatively activated).

It is now generally accepted that TAMs have an M2 phenotype and show mostly pro-tumoral functions, promoting tumor cell survival, proliferation, and dissemination. High levels of TAM are often, although not always, correlated with a bad prognosis, and recent studies have also highlighted a link between their abundance and the process of metastasis.

In a recent research paper “Immunotype and Immunohistologic Characteristics of Tumor Infiltrating Immune Cells are Associated with Clinical Outcome in Metastatic Melanoma”1 et al Slingluff 2012, it breaks down the Immunohistologic Characteristics into three distinct immunotypes:

A) No infiltration of immune cells in the tumor’s microenvironment.

B) Infiltrating Immune cells only in close proximity to the tumor’s vascular system

C) Diffuse immune cell infiltrates throughout a metastatic tumor and its microenvironment.

Immunohistologic Characteristics of Tumor Infiltrating Immune Cells

Overall, the most predominant immune cells were T cells (53%), followed by the B cell lineage cells (33%), and then by macrophages (13%), with NK and mature dendritic cells only hardly present.

With the setting of the tumor’s microenvironment evaluated, we will focus the low survival immunotype A patients.

How can we improve the overall survival and the immune response to Melanoma? We need to push the differentiation of the macrophages towards the M1 phenotype.

Macrophages are important tumor-infiltrating cells and play pivotal roles in tumor growth and metastasis. Macrophages participate in immune responses to tumors in a polarized manner: classic M1 macrophages produce interleukin (IL) 12 to promote tumoricidal responses, whereas M2 macrophages and M2-Like produce IL10 and help tumor progression. The mechanisms governing macrophage polarization are unclear but in 1990 it was discovered treatment of M2 macrophages with GM-CSF or IFN-gamma led to production of M1 phenotypic markers upon LPS stimulation. It also has been seen that if you block the IL-10 receptor with an antibody along with LPS (TLR4 agonist) stimulation or CpG (TLR9 agonist) stimulation you shift the Macrophage plasticity towards the M1 phenotype.

So what causes the high Macrophage (M2) to migrate towards the Tumor and its microenvironment? Does the tumor somehow recruit these (TAMs) Tumor Associated Macrophages? What are the characteristics of the M2 phenotype?

Hallmarks of M2 macrophages are IL-10high IL-12low IL-1rahigh IL-1 decoyRhigh production, CCL17 and CCL22 secretion, high expression of mannose, scavenger and galactose-type receptors, poor antigen-presenting capability and wound-healing promotion.

CCL17 and CCL22 chemokines within tumor microenvironment are related to infiltration of regulatory T cells in Macrophage 2 in melanoma. Early Detection of Tumor Cells by Innate Immune Cells leads to Treg Recruitment through CCL22 Production by Tumor Cells and Tumor Assocated Marophages (TAMs). It has been suggested that at early times during tumorigenesis, the detection of tumor cells by innate effectors (monocytes and NK cells) imposes a selection for CCL22 secretion that recruits Treg to evade this early antitumor immune response. The activated T-cells upregulate the CTLA-4 and PD-1. PD-1 ligation induces IL-10 production by monocytes, which together with PD-1 inhibits CD4+ T cell responses/activation. This is way for the immune system to use a checkpoint so that immune response does not lead to an autoimmune response. These receptors keeps the immune system in check.

Now in another paper I found this:

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 and TNF alpha missing. The macrophages were not activated!!!! The "Danger Signal" known as inflammation was missing! The non-responders most likely had their macrophages polarized to a M2-like phenotype by the Tregs and or IL-10.

So if the Macrophages are M2-like in the Tumor’s microenviroment, then if we control the Tregs, the upregulation of the of CTLA-4, PD-1 on the T-cells including the Tregs, and control the IL-10 production through anti-IL-10 antibody on the macrophages, we can shift the M2-like Macrophages into the M1 thus producing IL-12 shifting the differentiation of the Niave CD4+ T-cell the TH1 phenotype to activate the T-cells.

This all can be done with Yervor, Anti-PD-1 and Anti-IL-10 receptor antibody. You can get the tomor to shed antigentic protein by either whole radiation, Chemotherapy (TMZ- + Patrin-2) or Heat Shock.

CpG oligonucleotides induced NF-_B activation through the triggering of TLR9 signaling in TAM (Fig. 2), and the co-use of an IL-10 receptor Ab reduced IL-10 signaling in TAM, thereby reducing their M2 polarization.

Plasticity of Macrophage Function during Tumor Progression: Regulation by Distinct Molecular Mechanisms

HMGB1 from the dying tumors (irradiation, Chemotherapy, Heat Shock) will act as the Danger signal and bind to the TLR4 and activating the Macrophage (M1) and secrete IL-12 which acts upon the naïve CD4 T helper cells to differentiate to the Th1 phenotype.

petoh et al. has revealed an interesting role of TLR signalling in cancer therapy. They studied the immune-stimulatory properties of dying tumour cells after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Using TLR4 and MyD88-deficient DCs, they show that TLR4 signaling is required for crosspresentation of antigens from apoptotic tumour cells on MHC class I to generate antitumour cytotoxic T cell (CTL) responses. Apetoh et al.also identified a “danger signal” from dying tumour cells, the nuclear protein highmobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1, see Figure) that triggers this protective immune response through activation of TLR4. According to their work, the interaction of high mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) released from dying tumour cells with Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) on dendritic cells is required for the crosspresentation of tumour antigens and the promotion of tumour specific cytotoxic T-cell responses.

So to sum it up, If you take Yervoy + Anti-PD1 + Anti-IL-10 along with radiation/Chemo could we get the right T-cell activation and Immune Response?

My guess you will activate the TLR4 pathway and induce the RIGHT IMMUNE RESPONSE.

So can we Get the Oncologists on board to propose and setup a clinical trial?
Time will only tell.
Remember the this blog. It will lead to a CURE!!!

“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


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.