New City Osaki Clinic homepage > Treatment outcomes and case reports > Test of immunological capacity
How can we determine whether or not immune cell therapy including NK cell therapy is effective for cancer?
The efficacy of a certain therapy is often evaluated based on reduction of the size of cancer on the CT image. However, immunotherapy is frequently used with anticancer agents and it is difficult to tell whether the observed effect comes from immunotherapy. Originally, efficacy evaluation based on the reduction of the size of cancer is suitable for anticancer agents, but not appropriate for immunotherapy. Therefore, it is generally considered that the efficacy of immunotherapy should be evaluated based on the prolonging of survival, which is the most reliable criterion for anticancer effect.
Nevertheless, survival benefit cannot be assessed in the first month of immunotherapy. How, then, should we evaluate the efficacy of immunotherapy?
We are certain that immunotherapy causes some changes in the immune cells in blood circulating in the body. If immunotherapy does not lead to any immunological change in the body, we cannot call it immunotherapy. We are sure about such mechanisms of immunotherapy because, when we examine the changes in the immune state of the entire body by regularly collecting blood during the treatment using the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy, we observed clear survival benefit in patients whose immune state represented by NK cell count or NK activity of blood was greatly improved.
At the New City Osaki Clinic, we comprehensively evaluate the six major indices of immunity for all the patients who receive our treatment and explain the results to these patients as their overall immunological capacity. We will present some examples of such evaluation in actual cases.
A patient with pancreatic cancer was in a very poor condition, having metastasis that had already reached peritoneum at the time of diagnosis. As shown in the graph, highly active NK cell therapy was started on November 6. Anticancer agents were used concomitantly. The NK cell count in blood was increased constantly from less than 100 (per 1 μl) at the start of NK cell therapy, to more than 900—which is far beyond the standard level—about one year later. Along with this change, marked prolonging of survival was observed. At our clinic, we regularly collect blood samples during the treatment using the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy, examine whether or not the immune state represented by variables such as NK cells in the blood is strengthened, and provide and explain the result to the patients.
The patient we present here is the same patient we described in Case 1 of breast cancer in the case reports. Let’s examine how the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy changed the immune state of this patient in the long term. The graph shows the immune state of this patient after the anticancer agents were switched from those of FEC therapy to an oral agent, TS-1. The immune state was very poor immediately after repeated FEC therapy, but after switching to TS-1, the variables were rapidly increased, cutting right across the standard range from below, indicating the immunity-enhancing effect of the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy. It has been six years since 2006 and the treatment using the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy administered once in a few months has been maintaining such a high level of the immune state. The variables were slightly decreased in February, 2012, but this is because of a longer interval of administration. In such cases, we shorten the interval.
In general, patients who had metastasis twice in a short period of time are very difficult to treat. The important point in this case is that neither metastasis nor recurrence was observed for six years after the immune state of the whole body was greatly improved by concomitant use of the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy. Through the administration of 10 to 20 billion immune cells mainly consisting of extremely strong NK cells in every dosing, the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy wakes up the immunity of the body, which was in a dormant state, and builds the immune system in which the entire body fights against cancer.
This patient could not use anticancer agents due to old age and therefore, used only the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy. After this therapy, physical condition was greatly improved and chest CT images showed that lung cancer was roughly halved by three months after the start of the treatment.
Along with CT images, when immunity before and after the treatment using the “Osaki method” of highly active NK cell therapy is compared, the NK cell count and NKG2D-positive cell count in blood increased markedly. The overall immunological capacity evaluated based on these variables and four other indices of immunity also increased by two ranks some two months after the start of the treatment. Thus, such enhancement of immunity is shown to be important in the control of cancer.