Researchers find promise in a new treatment for head and neck cancers that's aimed at boosting the immune system.
Studies have shown people with head and neck cancers have suppressed immune systems, and these suppressed immune systems may play a role in the development of the cancerous tumors. Research also exists suggesting interleukins, which are a type of cytokine, may assist in treating various forms of cancer by boosting immune system responses. Few studies have looked specifically at how this treatment affects people with head and neck cancers.
In this study, investigators tested 12 patients with previously untreated head and neck cancers to gauge their reactions to injections of a combination of mixed natural cytokines called Multikine. Patients also received treatment with zinc sulfate and other substances thought to help boost the immune system.
Patients received the Multikine injections for 10 days. Two patients had a complete regression of their cancer, and another two had a partial regression. Laboratory studies of the tumors showed positive effects from the treatment. No serious side effects were seen with the therapy.
The authors conclude Multikine injections may be valuable in the treatment of head and neck cancers. They write, "Further studies are needed to substantiate these findings and to define the best dosage and mode of administration of Multikine in patients with head and neck cancer."