Teaching the Immune System to Target Cancer


Thanks to continuous advances and breakthrough in cancer research, the medical community has been witnessing an unprecedented flow of success

stories through innovative immunotherapy and targeted therapies. Cancer specialists are now able to work successfully with their patients toward less toxic and more effective cancer treatments. Immunotherapy and targeted therapies are ushering in a new era in the fight against cancer.


It all starts at the cell level. Under certain series of unfortunate circumstances, some cells in our bodies become corrupted and start to grow to form cancerous cells. Normally, the immune system is supposed to patrol and detect those abnormal cells and destroy them. However, cancerous cells often find a way of evading the immune system through certain mechanisms including receptors.

What are cell receptors and what do they do? Well, certain receptors on the cell surface resemble the function of passcode or Identification Cards (ID cards). Normal cells have “good” passcodes on their surface and when those normal cells are scanned by the cells of the immune system, they are allowed to survive. However, cancer cells are often able to fool the immune system by acquiring (stealing or forging) those same “good” receptors (ID cards). As such, “impostor” cancer cells pass the scanning test of the immune system and they survive and keep growing in number.

Immunotherapy and targeted therapies specifically address this flawed issue of “fake IDs” by training and waking up the immune system to appropriately fight cancerous cells. For example, medications called “check-point inhibitors” block the interaction between particular cancer cell receptors (or fake IDs) and the immune cells “scanners” in order to uncover the true identity of cancer cells and allow the immune system to destroy them.

There are also several other mechanisms by which immunotherapy can help the immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells. The bottom line is that many patients who suffer from cancer can now be offered less toxic and more effective treatments through FDA approved immunotherapy and targeted therapy. In addition to standard therapies, patients have now more opportunities to enroll on clinical trials that are looking to uncover newer ways to teach the immune system to target effectively cancer cells without affecting the normal bystanders.

IHA Welcomes Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists

ANN ARBOR, MI – (May 2, 2016) – IHA is pleased to announce its planned integration with Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists (AAOS) effective immediately. With offices in the Michigan Orthopedic Center on the St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor campus and in Hamburg and Canton, the practice, comprised of Thomas J. O’Keefe, MD; J. David Denzin, MD; Dean R. Schueller, MD; Karl F. Schultz, MD; Michael A. Masini, MD, Michael G. Chrissos, MD and James E. Moravek, MD; has provided compassionate, patient focused care to patients across Southeast Michigan since 1976.

Dr. Andrew Pruitt, MD, IHA Surgery Department Chair notes, “These are not only nationally-recognized surgeons, but also outstanding individuals with more than a century and a half of combined experience whom we are thrilled to welcome to the IHA family.”

“Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists has a long tradition of providing high quality orthopedic care to the communities we serve. We are committed to improving our patient’s function and quality of life through the least invasive and most conservative approach that will provide the best outcome.” says Michael A. Masini, MD, Site Medical Director for Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists and also the Orthopedic Section Head for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital – Ann Arbor. “By partnering with a high performing, multi-specialty physician group, such as IHA, we feel we can offer our patients even more comprehensive, coordinated and accessible care.”

Dr. Pruitt also adds, “These seven outstanding surgeons provide a broad range of orthopedic capabilities along with sub-specialty expertise which all of us at IHA are now thrilled to have on the same team.” In addition, the physicians are actively involved as faculty for the St. Joseph Mercy – UofM Orthopedic Residency program.

According to Bill Fileti, IHA’s President & CEO, this new relationship with Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists brings added general orthopedic, sports medicine and adult reconstructive capabilities to IHA. With a growing and aging population, the need for orthopedic services is rapidly expanding. This new linkage will enable IHA to better meet community needs in multiple markets.

“IHA continues to evolve into one of the best multi-specialty group practices in Michigan,” notes Fileti. “With integrations, such as this relationship with Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists and others planned for later in 2016, IHA continues its commitment to grow its primary care and specialty capabilities in order to give our patients outstanding quality, easy access and cost effective care.”

About IHA
IHA is one of the best and largest multi-specialty groups in Michigan. IHA employs more than 1,600 staff members, which includes more than 520 providers consisting of: physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwives in approximately 60 practice locations across Southeast Michigan. IHA provides high-quality medical care and excellent service to nearly 410,000 active patients. Recognized as Metro Detroit’s Top Physician Group by Consumer Reports magazine, IHA also ranks in the top quartile for patient satisfaction nationally. Offering extended office hours and urgent care services, along with online patient diagnosis, treatment and appointment access tools. IHA demonstrates that it cares by bringing safe, high-quality, comprehensive and affordable care to its patients. For more information about IHA, visit www.ihacares.com.

About IHA Ann Arbor Orthpaedic Specialists
Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists has been providing high quality, nationally-recognized orthopedic care to patients in Southeast Michigan for nearly 40 years. We have seven exceptional surgeons – specializing in everything from sports medicine and orthopedic trauma to total joint replacement of the hip, knee, and shoulder and complex revision surgery. Ann Arbor Orthopaedic Specialists has consistently delivered efficient, compassionate, patient focused care with an emphasis on teamwork. The practice has three convenient office locations: in the Michigan Orthopedic Center on the St. Joseph Mercy campus in Ann Arbor, in the St. Joseph Mercy Canton building and in the IHA Internal Medicine – Livingston office in Hamburg.