Modern drugs have reduced the toxicity of many treatments but have not significantly improved complete response rates which are still currently only about 7% across many types of cancers and using many different types of treatment.
This, we believe, is not due to fundamental problems with the agents themselves. Rather, it is due to the random timing of their application. Drug treatments are at present scheduled according to a range of clinical and non-clinical considerations but not with regard to what Biotempus has identified as the most important factor: the dynamics of the individual patient’s immune system.
In 2002 Biotempus Chief Scientific Officer Martin Ashdown made a remarkable observation: that the immune system of a cancer patient fluctuates over an approximately seven-day cycle.
The immune system is a massively complex one. Indeed, immunology has over the past decade or more become one of the most intensely studied and exciting areas of medical science. Every new discovery in the field reveals the ever greater complexity of the system’s interlocking mechanisms. However, the key aspect of Martin’s observation is fundamentally simple. It relies on the fact that the immune system has two aspects: a means of attacking disease and a means of limiting that attack.
The attack mechanisms of the immune system are remarkably efficient. We routinely encounter external and sometimes novel threats in the form of bacteria (think of an infected wound) and viruses (colds and flu). The attack (effector) system responds to antigens and thus identifies, kills and clears off these invaders. When it has done so, the other side of the immune system—the regulatory system—steps in to call off the attack. Good regulation of the system is crucial. The effector system is potent and, unless it is reined back, can create havoc. An unregulated immune system is the cause of autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and many more) in which the body relentlessly attacks itself.
Martin noted that certain molecules in blood samples taken daily or near-daily from cancer patients rose and fell over a repeating period of about seven days.