Immunotherapy: Investigating Cancer Research

The proliferation and advent of technology in medical research has spurred new techniques and treatments to combat cancer, a disease with an alarming mortality rate that will lead to an estimated 1,685,210 new cases in 2016, and 595,690 deaths.

The model of immunotherapy—using one’s body as the tool with which to fight cancer—has been considered an experimental treatment since its conception, in stark contrast to the standard chemotherapy and radiation that is traditionally offered for cancer patients. While chemotherapy directly attacks the cancer, immunotherapy harnesses the patient’s own immune system to fight off the disease.

The most widely used forms of immunotherapy include drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, which block a mechanism used by cancer cells to shut down the immune system, and cell therapy, which involves removing a patient’s immune cells, genetically altering them to help fight cancer, multiplying them, and ultimately infusing them back into the bloodstream.

While pharmaceutical companies initially were disinterested in the research and science, favoring drugs that had the ability to be mass-produced and treat everyone, drug companies are progressively funneling more money into clinical trials and tests—attempting to understand the powerful and critically important tool further.

Quoted in a recent New York Times article, Dr. Jedd Wolchok, chief of melanoma and immunotherapeutics services at Memorial Sloan Kettering, articulated what many doctors are experiencing as they begin to utilize this therapy, once considered a mere pipe dream: “This is a fundamental change in the way that we think about cancer therapy.”

Other doctors that have seen almost miraculous results in clinical trials have expressed similar sentiments: “Think of how dauntingly personalized this is,” says Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute. “We are using their own cells to treat a unique mutation in their own tumor.” This individualized treatment has been proven to be effective in many cases, generating complete remissions in many patients who felt they were out of options.

Yet while immunotherapy has proven to be stunningly successful in several cases, doctors are continuing to explore why the treatment has a higher efficacy in some patients, while others relapse. Moreover, the arduous, lengthy, and complex process of re-engineering and duplicating cells is very costly, and is still undergoing scrutiny and examination.

Want more information about Metabolic Medical Institute’s Integrative Cancer Therapies Fellowship? Gain access to cutting-edge therapy modalities, along with a particular segment targeted towards the immunology of cancer, coupled with updated information and research surrounding immunotherapy. Learn more now.

Endocrinology Overview Webinar | Jennifer Landa, MD

The endocrine system plays an important role in the body’s overall function and optimal health. World renowned physician and author, Jennifer Landa, MD gives an overview of endocrinology, speaks on MMI’s Fellowship program and presents a patient case study.


A functional overview of hormonal changes that manifest in men & women with aging, including the functions & interplay of specific hormones in the body. It discusses how best to identify, test for & treat hormonal deficiencies & dysfunctions, such as with hormone replacement & medication compounding.

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Clinical Practice Protocols | Dr Andrew Heyman

Andrew Heyman, MD gives a preview of MMI’s most comprehensive and foundational Fellowship course- Module VIII: Clinical Practice Protocols. This module examines various case histories to provide the knowledge for instantly implementing the latest nutritional treatment modalities for more than 50 conditions, ranging from the cardiovascular & immune systems to mental health & lifestyle-specific nutrition.

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What’s Next for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine with Dr Sharon McQuillan

The use of stem cells is a natural progression in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. Stem cell therapy is at the forefront of cutting-edge medicine. Join Dr. McQuillan and other experts in Las Vegas December 11-13th for three days of interactive learning on the foundation of stem cell therapy.

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Weight Management Webinar | Now Available!

With excess weight and obesity playing a primary role in a number of chronic diseases, nutrition and weight management professionals aim to help patients achieve their weight loss goals with the tools and lifestyle changes necessary to keep the weight off and maintain a healthy body composition.

Join James LaValle, RPh, CCN as he discusses this important topic and how you can integrate weight management protocols into your practice.

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Webinar Dr Heyman: Biotoxins & Inflammation

Adverse toxin exposure can have long range health effects in human metabolism. Understanding the toxicology associated with these exposures and identifying laboratory methods of assessment is a crucial part of the knowledge base for integrative physicians practicing medicine in a toxic world.

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90 Seconds of Cancer Therapy Updates with Dr. Mark Rosenberg

Integrative Cancer Therapy is a vital and ever-changing topic in today’s medical industry. Due to the widespread occurrence of cancer, preventive medicine thrives on cancer methodologies and treatments. Join cancer therapy researcher and expert, Dr. Mark Rosenberg for a two-day, interactive course reviewing all of the updates in the world of integrative cancer therapy.

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Meet the Chairs – James LaValle, RPh, CCN

James LaValleJames LaValle, RPh, CCN

Explain your background in medicine.

I have had a pretty diverse background in my training. I am a clinical pharmacist and member of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and was an appointed adjunct associate professor for 17 years at the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy and acted as an instructor and preceptor at the College of Medicine. I am Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition (CCN) and serve on the Science Council. I am a Fellow of the British Institute of Homeopathy and completed a Diplomat in Homeopathic Pharmacy and Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine. I also finished an academic doctor of naturopathy from Central States College in Columbus Ohio. Last, I finished Bachelors in Pastoral Wellness and Masters in Theology. If I had to my specialty is biological and metabolic medicine. I see all types of patients. From my training, I believe that every emotion, chemical, drug or nutrient influences our receptor signaling. Metabolic shifts can be characterized and then reconciled to bring an individual back to a better state of well being by modifying and invigorating the cellular communication at the receptor level.

How did you get into this field of Metabolic, Integrative, Functional & Preventative medicine?

I started working out for sports at age 13 so I had an active interest in nutrition from my early teens. I actually was a very sickly child, in fact I thought the pink stuff (amoxicillin) and then the purple stuff (Dimetapp) were part of my daily diet. So by the time I was 20 years old I was struggling with allergies, eczema amongst other problems. I went to a doctor who evaluated me for adrenal function, food intolerances and gut dysbiosis back in 1984 right after pharmacy school. His work changed my life and I jumped into this field full time from that point.

Can you recall a patient where the influence of preventative, integrative, and functional medicine significantly altered a poor diagnosis?

I have so many cases that I could share, but I think a recent case that I have followed over the last year is a good example. An 18 year old male came to me with a history of chronic petit mal seizures over the last 8 years. He had a negative reaction to a vaccination and in addition significant accidental exposure formaldehyde. All previous attempts of nutritional and functional approaches had only aggravated his condition. He was reactive to foods, environmentally chemically sensitive, and even reacted to many dietary supplements. Through looking at detoxification pathways, applying detoxification processes including gemmotherapy (botanical) low dose homeopathy, he became seizure free over 13 months over a period. Gradually he was able to tolerate detoxification with nutritional agents. It was profound for me because of the fact that homeopathy, gemmotherapy (botanicals) and drainage complexes along with nutrition combined to resolve a very complex case. Every day I see cases that have their health transformed by applying concepts of metabolic medicine.

Where do you see the future of medicine heading?

I think the future of medicine is in the area of Lifestyle and personalization.
Information gathering from the genomic to metabolomics expression will shape the treatment plan for the individual along with a lifestyle plan. We will see an explosion in nutrition research from food to dietary supplements and the research will be based more on clustered metabolic endpoints that we are attempting modify. In other words, targeted and personalized nutrition combined with targeted drug therapy that reduces the risk of polypharmacy events.

Why should healthcare provider start the Fellowship in Metabolic & Nutritional Medicine?

I believe that studying metabolic medicine allows you to look at the patient in a new and individualized light. It empowers you as a practitioner to become a metabolic investigator and begin to unravel the complex chemistries of the patients that you see. It becomes a lifelong journey to learn the underlying metabolic shifts that drive the progression to chronic illness or hopefully enhanced health and vitality. The other piece that is very important are the relationships that you develop meeting other healthcare professionals who have transitioned from conventional practices. You learn and mentor at the same time. My best collegial relationships have happened because of my participation in MMI/A4M.