How Can Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients Strengthen Their Immune System?

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Topics include: Treatment and Understanding

What can we do to set ourselves up for success in fighting cancer? How can we strengthen our immune systems? Hodgkin lymphoma expert Dr. John Burke from Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers discusses ways in which patients can get smart about immune system care. Talking with your doctor is always the first course of action, as well as taking care of yourself through a healthy diet and exercise.

We thank Seattle Genetics for their support.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Beth Probert:

How do I make my immune system stronger?  And I realize that's a really broad question, but maybe you can trim it down a little bit. 

So I think, you know, can you stimulate your immune system by things like diet and exercise, and that's kind of the vibe I think the question is leaning toward, I'm not sure there is too much you can do.  The science behind this is that these dang cancer cells called Reed-Sternberg cells are very smart, and what they have in them is these mutations in their genes that cause these cancer cells to be inherently resistant to a patient's own immune system.  So these cancer cells are making these proteins on the surface of the cell that is preventing the T cell from killing it.  

And what we do with these checkpoint inhibitors is release these T cells, make them more powerful and basically release this inhibitory effect that the cancer cells have on the T cells so then the T cells can actually come in and kill them.  But can a human being naturally make that process happen?  To my knowledge, no.  We know how to do it better now with drugs, but I'm not sure that a patient can do that on their own, no.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on February 28, 2019