Mesothelioma and Immune Augmentation Therapy
Immune Augmentation Therapy is a type of alternative cancer therapy that is outside mainstream cancer treatments. Patients receive daily injections of a protein mixture made from human blood designed to enable their immune system to attack their cancer.
Given a bleak prognosis, some mesothelioma patients prefer to try an alternative therapy such as IAT rather than conventional cancer treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy.
According to the American Cancer Society, scientific evidence does not support claims that IAT is effective in treating cancer. Still, some patients say it helped them overcome cancer.
Immune Augmentation Therapy – A Type of Alternative Cancer Therapy
Treatment with immune augmentation therapy requires an extended visit at an IAT clinic in the Bahamas. The patient is given a physical exam and blood and urine tests to determine the state of their immune system. The initial treatments typically take six to 12 weeks.
Patients receive daily injections of a protein mixture made from human blood that is claimed to contain antitumor antibodies and deblocking proteins. No independent laboratories have confirmed the existence of blocking and deblocking proteins, according to the American Cancer Society. Patients then receive follow-up blood tests to measure the patient’s immune system response. Immune augmentation therapy is not approved in the United States and is unlikely to be covered by health insurance.
According to a 1991 article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, biologist Lawrence Burton, Ph.D. developed immune augmentation therapy as a method to manage cancer in the early 1970s. Burton published one article about 11 mesothelioma patients treated with IAT. According to the report, the average survival time for mesothelioma patients receiving IAT was about 30 months, which is longer than the average expectancy for patients. However, this was a small group of selected patients, and no studies have been done to confirm the results.
The idea that cancer can be slowed or stopped by boosting the immune system is well-established and is the basis for immunotherapy. IAT should not be confused with immunotherapy, an accepted cancer treatment that uses immune system hormones, antibodies and vaccines to boost the immune system. Immunotherapy has been proven effective in clinical trials with various forms of cancer.
The American Cancer Society has published a Guide to Alternative and Complementary Therapies that offers the latest information about alternative treatments. The American Cancer has found no evidence that immune augmentation therapy (IAT) is effective in treatment of cancer and strongly urges individuals with cancer not to seek such treatment.