Questions and Answers
Immunotherapy is becoming more popular. Why is it that many people, even doctors, do not know about this type of therapy?
Every doctor nowadays knows about the role of immunotherapy for cancer treatment. If a doctor does not know about the existence of immunotherapy – change doctors!
What are the advantages of immunotherapy?
There are two main advantages of immunotherapy when compared to conventional cancer treatment: It replaces a hazardous aggressive treatment with a smart one. Immunotherapy can kill or block the progression of cancer cells that have shown themselves to be resistant to all conventional medical procedures. It can result in the cure of otherwise incurable cancer.
Is immunotherapy effective against all types of cancer? Are there cancers that respond especially well?
In principle, Immunotherapy is applicable for many types of cancer, but the treatment must be fully personalized. Every case responds differently and no promise for a successful outcome can ever be made.
Some types of immunotherapy have already been approved. How do they differ from the methods at Biotherapy International?
At Biotherapy International we apply many conventional procedures, including many conventional immunotherapy procedures. In addition, we may offer more innovative procedures based on our own research and experience. These are all based on basic science and pre-clinical animal experiments, but are not yet fully considered “evidence-based medicine”. Unfortunately, introducing new treatments may take 10-15 years from discovery, and patients at risk cannot afford to wait until the needed procedure is fully approved. Experimental procedures can be applied before receiving formal approval, or when regulatory or institutional formal approval is pending.
Can I have immunotherapy as my first-line treatment?
Although it sometimes makes sense, the official answer is NO. First, every patient must be convinced that he/she was treated by the most progressive and fully approved conventional treatment because no one can offer more successful treatment if there is no prior data available. The more important answer is the following: conventional treatment, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or any of the new drugs are initially very effective at eliminating visible cancer. As such, most patients with both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors can reach a stage known as minimal residual disease (MRD). Every course of immunotherapy works much better against a smaller number of cancer cells, so it is in the patient’s best interest to apply innovative immunotherapy at the stage of MRD. This offers immunotherapy the best opportunity to eliminate residual cancer cells that are resistant to conventional treatment and in many cases, this is in our opinion the only timing that provides the optimal chance for cure.
When is the best time for cancer treatment at Biotherapy International?
The best approach is to contact Biotherapy International as soon as cancer is diagnosed. At this point, we can provide the patient with important information that will avoid future mistakes. For example, if surgical removal of cancer is scheduled, we will advise cryopreservation of a portion of the malignant tissue. In this way, we can use it in the future to prepare a personalized cancer vaccine. If the patient is not aware of such an option can come for consultation too late, regrets will not help. If the patient is aware of all treatment options at the early stages of the disease, he or she will be able to optimize future treatment plans by being informed about treatment options unknown or not recommended by the patient’s oncologist.
I am too weak to travel to Tel Aviv. Can these treatments be done remotely?
Yes, in many cases if the treating physician is cooperative and open-minded, and not restricted by local regulations.
How much does the treatment cost? Is it covered by health insurance?
Cost depends on what will be offered. No 2 cancers are the same and no 2 patients are the same. Therefore, treatment should be fully individualized depending on many factors. The only cost that is fixed is the cost of consultation over e-mail followed by Zoom or Skype: US $1,200 or €1,000.
What does a course of treatment look like? How long will it take?
It all depends on which treatment so this question is too general and cannot be answered.
Will immunotherapy be as painful as chemotherapy?
In general, immunotherapy is a smart and not aggressive treatment, so it never causes pain. However, it can be problematic if the patient develops an allergy, intolerance. or if the treatment causes fever and other possible side effects or complications. These can be mild or severe and never predicted prior to treatment. Further, , we use different types of immunotherapeutic protocols, so there cannot be a single answer for so many different procedures. In general, the purpose of immunotherapy is to induce immune warfare against cancer and in every war, there are unavoidable casualties. I wish we had a flower that can cure cancer by sniffing… Does the therapy have any side effects? If yes, what are they? Of course, there could be side effects. There is no treatment without potential side effects .
How many patients have been treated to date? What are the results?
At Biotherapy International, we have treated hundreds of patients for different indications. On my calendar, at the time of answering this question, I can see the files of over 5500 patients that I have treated over the years. Questions about results cannot be answered. All we can say: some were cured, some improved, and some failed.