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Combining immunotherapy and natural immune stimulants: mechanisms and clinical implications

  • Khara LuciusEmail author
  • Jacob Hill
Letter to the Editors

Dear Editor,

The development of immunotherapy (IT) represents one of the most promising advances in oncology in the past several years. Indications for IT have expanded rapidly, and a growing number of patients with an increased variety of cancer diagnoses are being treated with these agents. At the same time, the use of complementary and integrative therapies among cancer patients is widespread (Tara et al. 2018), and many patients do not disclose or discuss these therapies with their physicians (Richardson et al. 2000). Patient use of nutritional supplements may include items that are considered natural immune stimulants (NIS). Our understanding of how NIS use may affect people who are being treated with IT is in its infancy. To the author’s knowledge, there are no clinical trials, and extremely limited preclinical data, examining the effect of combining IT and NIS. It is critical to consider the shared mechanisms of IT and NIS and how this combination may affect patients. We offer...

Notes

Funding

The Research Fellowship in Complementary and Integrative Health (5T32AT003378-12) from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health provides salary support for Dr. Hill.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose regarding this review.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Integrative MedicineUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Program on Integrative Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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