Biologic and Immunotherapies
Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. We currently have several clinical trials in progress at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital:
Vigil, previously called FANG, is a vaccine for Ewing’s sarcoma, the second most common primary bone malignancy in children and adolescents.
A monoclonal antibody for patients with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a life-threatening immune system disorder.
Chimeric 14.18 and IL-2
Used for the treatment of Neuroblastoma, the most common form of cancer affecting infants. The ch14.18 monoclonal antibody specifically targets a substance called GD2 that is found at high levels on the surface of neuroblastoma cells. When the immune system detects the presence of the antibody on the cancer cells, it triggers responses that kill the cancer cells. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a protein that regulates the activities of white blood cells that are responsible for immunity.
Monoclonal Antibody-based treatments
Treatment for Leukemia and Solid Tumors. Monoclonal Antibodies are man-made versions of immune system proteins which can be very useful in treating cancer because they can be designed to attack a very specific part of a cancer cell.
Apheresis Therapy: Leukapheresis
Leukapheresis involves removal of a patient’s white blood cells from the circulating blood. It’s often used as a treatment during leukemia if the blood has too many white blood cells.
Apheresis Therapy: Red Cell Exchange
Apheresis therapy is a medical procedure that’s used to remove certain blood components when problems exist. Red cell exchange involves removing problematic red blood cells from the blood. It’s often used as a treatment for sickle cell disease.
Apheresis Therapy: Therapeutic Plasma Exchange
Therapeutic plasma exchange involves removing problematic plasma from the blood.
Immunotherapy is a different modality of cancer treatment that utilizes the body’s immune system to fight cancerous cells.
CD34 is an antigen on the surface of a very early blood cell that is important in the formation of the bone marrow.
Collection of Hematopoietic Stem Cells
The body’s stem cells can be used for treatments for a number of different disease, including certain cancers and non-malignant conditions.
Complete Blood Count
A complete blood count is a common blood test that’s often taken during physicals or other medical checkups. It provides an evaluation of overall health, and also checks for certain disorders such as infection, anemia, leukemia, immune system disorders and other diseases.
Head and Neck Cancer and Tumor Surgery
In the pediatric population there are variety of tumors that can originate in the head and neck. Common tumors are lymphoma, salivary tumors and thyroid cancer.
Hydroxyurea is a medicine that can help children and adults with sickle cell disease.
Photopheresis is a medical procedure that can treat graft versus host disease. It involves suppressing the immune system to prevent it from reacting adversely on the skin.
T Cell Collection by Apheresis
The body’s T cells are a type of white blood cell that can be used for treatments for a number of different diseases including cancer. The process of collecting these T cells is known as T cell collection by apheresis.