CHIPSA Hospital, the renowned immunotherapy clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, recently announced the launch of three immune-stimulating cancer treatments.
The hospital currently has an entire Immune™ Cellular program that uses cell therapy to treat cancer. Cell therapy is a type of therapy that calls upon a patient’s own immune cells to attack and kill cancerous cells. The treatments actually use a combination of the patient’s own tumor and blood, which has been shown to create the best immune response.
CHIPSA hospital is an integrative hospital, which means they combine the best of several cancer therapies to achieve their results. While many other integrative hospitals exist, CHIPSA’s cellular program is very unique. There are no other programs that offer personalized therapies made from full tumors, dendritic cells, natural killer cells, and macrophages. Created by a team of renowned scientists and doctors, the cutting-edge cellular program is based on current immunotherapy research developing worldwide.
Patients can access some of these treatments in the United States, as a few or either FDA approved or currently in clinical trials. However, they are very costly in the U.S.
CHIPSA is able to offer patients the treatments at a fraction of the cost in the states. They can also combine these treatments with their other effective therapies in order to create the best possible immune response.
Gabrial Fernandez, CHIPSA’s patient advocate, witnesses patients from the states accessing these treatments often. “It’s great to be able to help so many patients access cutting-edge treatments and save so much money by coming to Mexico,” he said. “They are aware of the price savings of real dendritic cell vaccines.”
CHIPSA’s Top 3 Cellular Therapies
Dendritic Cell Vaccine
Dendritic cell vaccines are currently available in the U.S. for $93,000 for 3 doses.
But you can get a dendritic cell treatment at CHIPSA for only $4,000 a dose.
The approved dendritic cell vaccine is called Provenge. It’s the only vaccine approved for use in states and treats prostate cancer. A Phase-3 FDA trial showed that this vaccine extended patient’s lives by about 4 months. In 2011, the discovery of the dendritic cells and TLR-4 pathway won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
CHIPSA has been using dendritic cells since 2000, giving them 20 years of experience of finding the best methods. Their new dendritic cell vaccine does not use a specific cancer antigen. This is because they’ve found it’s more effective to create a danger signal in the patient’s own cancer.
Typically, dendritic cell vaccines in the United States are given as a standalone treatment. CHIPSA uses the treatment a bit differently.
As with most of their treatments, dendritic cell vaccines are given only in combination with other therapies. It’s difficult for doctors in the U.S. to implement this method since trials take a long time and cost a lot of money. Fortunately, CHIPSA has had many years of experience using the vaccine along with other treatments.
How Patients Combine Chemotherapy & Radiation with Dendritic Cell Therapy
Just because a patient is receiving conventional treatments does not mean they can’t also receive dendritic cell vaccines. Several patients who use chemotherapy and/or radiation also come to CHIPSA for treatment.
Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells. So when high doses of chemotherapy and radiation produce dead tumor antigens, dendritic cells present those dead cells to T-cells, which are part of the adaptive (memory) immune system.
CHIPSA doesn’t have to stick to a certain protocol like in an FDA clinical trial. This gives them — and their patients — the freedom to customize a treatment plan that will work best. Some patients use parts of their protocol along with conventional treatments at home. Even though some of the cellular treatments have not been fully approved in the U.S., some oncologists still encourage their patients to go to CHIPSA and receive dendritic cells, lymphokine activated killer cells (LAKs), and tumor lysate vaccines.
A study titled “Long-Term Clinical Responses of Neoadjuvant Dendritic Cell Infusions and Radiation in Soft Tissue Sarcoma” showed that 67% of soft tissue sarcoma patients were alive at 8 years with a combination of dendritic cells, surgery, and radiation. This was a significant increase in survival for patients with tumors >5 cm. This is compared to just a 54% 4-year survival after surgery and chemotherapy for tumors larger than 5 cm with soft tissue sarcomas.
Why are patients going to CHIPSA to combine their conventional treatments with immune cellular therapies?
Quite simply, many patients have seen better results when they combine traditional therapies with immunotherapies. CHIPSA believes that using conventional therapies in the U.S. or Canada along with their cellular and vaccine program may be the best way to achieve results.
Scientists are studying dendritic cells, lymphokine-activated killer cells, and tumor-lysed vaccines in several different trials throughout the U.S. But there are no trials studying the combination of these therapies. Occasionally, there will be a combination DC trial, but never with all 3 treatments.
The only place where you can access the treatments as part of a comprehensive protocol is CHIPSA.
Lymphokine-Activated Killer Cells
Lymphokine-activated killer cells (LAKs) are white blood cells taken from an apheresis draw and combined with Interleukin-2 (IL2). This protocol has been studied in the United States since the 1980s, led by the legendary immunotherapy pioneer Dr. Steve Rosenberg. His studies showed that when lymphocytes are cultured in the presence of IL2, effector cells will develop. Effector cells are toxic to cancer cells.
The combination of lymphocytes and IL2 has been shown to lyse fresh, non-cultured cancer cells, both primary and metastatic. LAK cells respond to these lymphokines, particularly IL-2, by lysing tumor cells that were already known to be resistant to NK-cell activity.
Natural killer cells have been shown to work synergistically with dendritic cells. The combination between LAKs and DCs allows the lysing of tumor cells with the antigen presentation of dendritic cells. CHIPSA believes this combination is best when it also includes a cytotoxic agent. They do this by combining a low dose of chemotherapy (20% dose) with Apatone (shown to increase effects of some chemos by 600%). When combined with Coley’s toxins, a healthy diet, and psychological therapy, this combination treatment has shown to be effective in many patients
According to CHIPSA’s medical director, Dr. Anton Escobedo, “LAK therapy failed as a standalone treatment, although some patients saw a response. Again, we don’t believe that they should be used as a standalone therapy. It’s all about combination and synergy. We like our combination protocol, but if patients want to combine our therapies with their conventional therapies at home, we are happy to work with them or their oncologist.”
This combination treatment is another great option for patients who are receiving conventional therapy in the states. Getting the dendritic cell therapy at CHIPSA can save them close to $90,000 on the treatment. They can also get the treatment for cancers other than prostate, and the U.S. currently only offers it for prostate cancer.
Tumor Cell Lysate Vaccines
CHIPSA has been using Tumor Cell Lysate vaccines since 2000. They use them to try and get the immune system to recognize the tumor as dangerous and cause an immune response to attack the tumor. The vaccines are best used in combination with other immunotherapies and cytotoxic agents. TLVs allow a presentation of whole tumor antigens that create a very specific response. The combination of TLVs and DCs allows the most possible antigen presentation with the best possible antigen recognition by the immune system. This combination, along with LAKs and the danger signals caused by chemo or radiation, gives patients the best chance to respond.
This vaccine can only be used on tumors that are accessible by surgery. CHIPS will not perform invasive surgery to reach tumors.
CHIPSA Hospital offers the best of both worlds.
CHIPSA supports patients who want to keep with their conventional treatments at home. They are also support patients who don’t want to use standard-of-care treatments, or who have tried them without results. These patients tend to focus on CHIPSA’s treatments only.
Either way, CHIPSA has a treatment option for you. Their programs are designed to work synergistically with chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitors. They also have their own treatment protocol that has shown amazing full-remissions in terminal cancer patients.
This means you can really have the best of both worlds at CHIPSA: conventional and non-traditional, a truly integrative approach.