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Immune disease (MS) vs. Immunotherapy (for cancer)

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    Immune disease (MS) vs. Immunotherapy (for cancer)

    My oncologist has told me that we should consider immunotherapy a last resort for my metastatic lung cancer, because in early immunotherapy trials a large fraction of subjects with immune diseases had relapses (i.e., worsening of their immune disease sx). Apparently they now screen out PWMS et al. from all immunotherapy trials.

    She's the lead clinician at Stanford for several cancer trials, so I'm sure she's aware of unpublished trial results, but I was wondering if this was generally known in 'the literature'.

    Neither my old oncologist (who I still see) nor my Stanford MS neuro flagged immunotherapy as a potential problem.

    Any thoughts?
    1st sx 11/26/09; Copaxone from 12/1/11 to 7/13/18
    NOT ALL SX ARE MS!

    #2
    My only experience with immunotherapy is not mine with my MS.

    My husband has rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease kept in remission with immune suppressing drugs. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year. The standard treatment is surgical tumor removal followed by immunotherapy that consists of instilling it directly into his bladder. They also changed his RA drug to something to control inflammation instead of suppressing the immune system.

    The third round infusion kicked off a major RA flare. He got steroids and continued immunotherapy. Itís going to be a balancing act for 3 years.

    The doctors never ruled him out because of the RA, but immunotherapy for bladder cancer has a long track record and doctors are more experienced with side effects.

    Iím sorry to hear that youíre being denied this cancer treatment because you have MS. Several of the DMDís carry an increased risk of cancer. I wish you success in your treatment.

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      #3
      Sorry to hear Mark. I wasn't aware of this. I know some of the MS meds exclude if you have had prior immunotherapy drugs. But never heard what your oncologist communicated.

      Good luck with your treatment. Please keep us updated
      Kathy
      DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

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        #4
        Does not sound like your docs are on the ball. It is a well known fact that immunotherapy ramps up the immune system which is the whole point: flip a gene the cancer mutated so your immune system can "see" the cancer again and then ramp up the immune system so you can launch a massive attack and kill it. Obviously there must be a chance your immune system goes on a rampage on your body and more so with MS. Immunotherapy is dangerous enough without an immune deficiency disease and with a mild curable cancer why take the risk.

        However that said if one has a cancer aggressive enough to warrant the risk I figured it was worth it to try. I have had MS for 30 years and still am and have been on immunotherapy for 3 years and it did nothing to my MS, but killed my cancer. It did destroy my thyroid though, but small price to pay as I would have been dead without it and selected to try immunotherapy as if it works, it works with potentially a lot fewer side effects (chemo and radiation did nothing for me, but left me with boat loads of permanent side effects). It was not approved for my cancer, but I was able to get it directly from the drug company. So far so good, still got quality of life.

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          #5
          No one said I shouldn't do immunotherapy, only that it should be considered *after* trying more conventional treatment. The tumors are pretty slow-growing, and so far my only sx from the cancer is a paralyzed vocal cord, and I've done well with chemo before.

          Originally posted by there View Post
          Does not sound like your docs are on the ball.
          I am quite confident in my doctors, and will continue to rely on what they tell me.

          Originally posted by there View Post
          I have had MS for 30 years and still am and have been on immunotherapy for 3 years and it did nothing to my MS, but killed my cancer.
          Congratulations! May I ask what kid of cancer?
          1st sx 11/26/09; Copaxone from 12/1/11 to 7/13/18
          NOT ALL SX ARE MS!

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