Dendritic cell therapy in the treatment of cancer

Dendritic cell therapy is a type of personalized cancer immunotherapy. Scientists create individual vaccines based on the unique tumor antigens in a particular patient. This new approach results in the destruction of tumor and metastasis, as well as the induction of immunological memory to prevent disease recurrence. Dendritic Cell Treatment is currently used in advanced stages of cancer, giving patients extra years of life and alleviating cancer symptoms. Clinics in Germany offer comprehensive medical programs that include dendritic cell immunotherapy.

Essence of Dendritic Cell Therapy

To protect us from foreign agents, including cancer cells, the immune system must be able, first, to recognize them and, second, to destroy them. Dendritic cells are the professional agents of antigen presentation. They recognize malignant tissue, process it, and present themselves to the immune system’s T-killers as the molecular target for attack. Thus, without the scrupulous work of dendritic cells, immunity remains “blind”, and oncology develops.

Unfortunately, some tumors can hide from the immune system by masking foreign antigens and blocking the immune response. This is when vaccination against cancer is indicated.

To make the individual vaccine, doctors take up to 200 ml of the patient’s blood or, as a more advanced option, take only leukocytes using leukapheresis. After that, health specialists separate the monocytes from the harvested material; monocytes will grow further into dendritic cells.

Dendritic cells are cultured in the laboratory and “educated” to recognize the specific tumor. To do this, they are mixed with tumor tissue or a mixture of tumor antigens. Once the dendritic cells have all the necessary information, the vaccine is made. The whole process can take 7-20 days.

How does the procedure take place

Vaccination is well tolerated and in most cases is performed on an outpatient basis. The vaccine is injected into the skin or into a vein. If possible, doctors choose the site on the body that is close to the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes. Anti-inflammatory drugs and interferon can be used additionally for better results.

After the procedure, a patient remains under medical supervision for several hours. The most serious possible side effects are flu-like symptoms, headache, and redness of the skin around the injection site.

Depending on the diagnosis, different vaccination schemes are used. Typically, doctors start with 4 applications of the vaccine about 4 to 5 weeks apart. In some cases, therapy can last a long time – up to several years. It further contributes to the development of natural anti-cancer immunity.

Who Can Undergo Dendritic Cell Therapy

Treatment with dendritic cell vaccines is indicated in patients with different types of oncology, such as:

  • Brain cancer (glioblastoma)
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Osteosarcoma and soft tissue sarcoma
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma

Ongoing clinical trials will further clarify the efficacy and tolerance of this therapeutic technique. What we can already say is that cancer vaccines are safe and induce anticancer immunity even in people with metastatic tumors.

Hospitals and healthcare organization abroad

Individualized treatment of cancer with dendritic cells is carried out in University Hospitals, the most successful of which are:

  • University Hospital of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • University Hospital Frankfurt am Main
  • Würzburg University Hospital
  • Berlin Charité University Hospital
  • Ulm University Hospital

The cost of dendritic cell treatment depends on the diagnosis, number of vaccinations, and additional treatments required. For example, the cost of preliminary diagnosis, vaccination and chemotherapy for metastatic melanoma is around €25,500. You can find other rates on the Booking Health website.

As a certified international provider of medical tourism, Health Reservation will also organize your trip:

  • Help you choose a hospital and a doctor
  • Develop the preliminary medical program
  • Make an urgent appointment
  • Facilitate visa issuance
  • Pay for flight, accommodation, transfer, medical insurance
  • Control expenses, exclude additional costs
  • Provide you with an interpreter
  • And much more

Do not hesitate to contact Booking Health and start your treatment as soon as possible.

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

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