About OncoPherese

The central mystery of oncology for decades has been: Why doesn’t the immune system destroy cancer cells as soon as they form? Cancer cells are abnormal in ways the immune system should be able to detect, and most patients are immunologically competent overall. Based on the research of Dr. Lentz and others, we now know that cancer cells shield themselves with immune inhibitors, much the way military aircraft release chaff and flares to fend off missiles. Researchers worldwide have found these inhibitors to be elevated in the blood of patients with all types of solid-tumor cancer. They play a key role in protecting tumors from the body’s defenses. Scientists have not found a pharmacological way of neutralizing these inhibitors or preventing their production.
Patient undergoing OncoPherese.
Patient undergoing OncoPherese.
OncoPherese is an extracorporeal technology that physically removes immune inhibitors from the blood and the tumor microenvironment. When these inhibitors are lowered enough, the immune barrier is broken and a patient’s killer white blood cells are free to attack the cancer cells. The technology allows the treating physician to reduce the level of inhibitors in the body to a specific threshold at which tumor inflammation and destruction occurs faster than new tumor mass is formed, but slowly enough that the body can process the resulting necrotic debris. The technology causes no injury to normal cells and thus no significant side effects.

OncoPherese is one type of therapeutic apheresis, which is a common, safe, scientifically valid method of treating various diseases, including multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatic diseases, among others. “Apheresis” comes from the Greek and means “to take away.” OncoPherese is a purely subtractive treatment, meaning nothing is added to the body.

Advantages of OncoPherese

OncoPherese now appears more effective overall at destroying malignant tumors than either chemotherapy or radiation, especially in patients with Stage IV disease – generally accompanied by heavy tumor burden from multiple metastases, extensive prior chemotherapy, and exhaustion of conventional therapeutic options. Extensive testing involving hundred patients has shown it to be both safe and effective.

There are a number of reasons this therapy represents a significant improvement over conventional treatments:

  • Effective against most if not all solid-tumor cancer types (i.e. no blood cancers)
  • Relatively mild, short-term side effects, in dramatic contrast to chemotherapy and radiation
  • Short initial term of therapy needed to confirm positive response
  • High response rate even in patients who have exhausted all other therapeutic options
  • Short duration of sick leave; most patients return to active life shortly after treatment
  • Consistent efficacy in repeat applications, should they be necessary
  • Expected lack of long-term complications such as secondary cancers known to follow chemotherapy and radiation.
The current generation of OncoPherese technology.
The current generation of OncoPherese technology.

An Evolving Technology

The current generation of OncoPherese technology.
OncoPherese has been studied and refined over decades. Unlike chemotherapy, our technology involves both a device and a biologic, both of which have been subject to constant improvement – a total of 15 generations since 1984. The current system is ready for general clinical use in the hands of experienced and certified physicians. Future research is expected to make this new therapy even more effective. The technology is protected by more than 60 granted patents.

Constant iteration means that the most recent version of OncoPherese technology has the highest efficacy and safety, but also the shortest track record. The only long-term (5+ year) data available is for patients treated with the earliest versions of the technology – which worked well but nowhere near as well as current technology and protocols. One might reasonable ask whether positive outcomes now being observed are likely to persist. Only time will tell for certain, but given the efficacy of this treatment in repeat applications, current results may be sustainable with regular maintenance treatments.

Patients undergoing OncoPherese can read, eat, sleep or visit.
Patients undergoing OncoPherese can read, eat, sleep or visit.

Specifics of OncoPherese Treatment

Patients undergoing OncoPherese can read, eat, sleep or visit.
A standard dialysis central venous catheter is surgically implanted in the large vein under the collarbone or the neck. Blood is withdrawn from the catheter through specialized sterile tubing to a machine that filters soluble TNF inhibitors out of the blood and returns the blood to the patient through the same catheter. Typical sessions last 4-6 hours a day. Skilled nurses and doctors are continually present. Side effects are typically mild and short-lived. Patients often experience a flu-like feeling, low-grade fever and fatigue due to the immune unblocking. The patient may also experience a dull ache or pain in the tumor site. Cutaneous tumors can become red, hot, tender and swollen. This tumor tenderness usually resolves within hours of ending a treatment session. During treatment, a patient can eat and drink, talk, read, listen to music, watch a movie, use a laptop or iPad, or sleep.
Patient consults with Dr. Kiran Lentz while technicians analyze initial results.
Patient consults with Dr. Kiran Lentz while technicians analyze initial results.

Initial Evaluation

Patient consults with Dr. Kiran Lentz while technicians analyze initial results.

First-time patients should receive a three-week trial of OncoPherese, after which their response is evaluated. If their response has been positive, further treatment can be considered. Some patients require several weeks, even months, of treatment to obtain maximal response. The good news is that patients generally show continued improvement following an initial positive response. This initial evaluation is best accomplished at our facility.

Early-Stage Cancer Patients

Early-stage (I-III, pre-metastatic) patients may be the best candidates for OncoPherese. Since most patients treated to date have been Stage IV, we have relatively few cases of early-stage disease. However, among those few, improvement has been consistent and significant, including unexpectedly high rates of clinical remission. Early-stage patients tend to be healthier and sometimes have not received extensive prior chemotherapy, which compromises the immune system and can thereby lessen the efficacy of OncoPherese. Given the benign nature of OncoPherese coupled with the added efficacy of treating a patient while his or her immune system is fully competent, we recommend that OncoPherese be employed as early as possible in the progression of a given patient’s cancer; if it produces less than desired results, the patient can then proceed to chemotherapy or other options without loss of clinically significant time.

Late-Stage Cancer Patients

Stage IV patients generally show a better response to OncoPherese than would be expected from chemotherapy and/or radiation. Despite suppression of their immune systems through prior conventional treatment, about two-thirds of Stage IV patients regardless of tumor type show a positive response to OncoPherese in terms of tumor inflammation and destruction. This suggests that while OncoPherese does not help every Stage IV patient, it can be a better option than any other systemic therapy, including chemotherapy.
I judge this novel approach for immunotherapy of cancer to be promising and scientifically sound. DR. MED RALF KLEEF, M.D., PH.D.
I am a 56-yr old woman who was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer two years ago. … After OncoPherese treatment, I am now in clinical remission.

When I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer… We decided to proceed with OncoPherese. My PSA, scans and physical findings were normal one month later.

With OncoPherese, [my daughter] has experienced clinical remission twice and no recurrence since April 2008….

The horrible side effects of chemo, radiation and surgery… made my entire family suffer. OncoPherese doesn’t eliminate the stress on the family, but it greatly reduces it. MF


International Immunology Foundation
Dr.-Siebert-Str. 5
83209 Prien

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From within Germany: +49-8051-909-300
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From the U.S.: 011-49-8051-909-300


From within Germany: +49-8051-909-301
From EU to Germany: +49-8051-909-301
From the U.S.: 011-49-8051-909-301