Two-part cancer treatment 'eliminates tumors in mice'

Henrietta Strickland
February 1, 2018

But Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, was considerably more cautious about the treatment's potential.

The researchers believe the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively affordable cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.

'When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body, ' said lead author Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology, whose lab developed Rituximab, a widely-used form of chemotherapy. "This approach sidesteps the need to distinguish tumor-particular safe targets and doesn't require discount enactment of the invulnerable framework or customization of a patient's insusceptible cells". A clinical trial using the treatment on human patients is now getting underway.

Details about the new approach appeared January 31 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, in an article entitled, "Eradication of spontaneous malignancy by local immunotherapy". Teacher of medicine Idit Sagiv-Barfi, PhD, is the lead creator.

The two agents used in the experimental vaccine act on the immune system in different ways, according to Levy.

Some immunotherapy approaches rely on stimulating the immune system throughout the body.

"The immune system can recognize cancer and kill it, but the cancer is inhibiting the immune cells". For instance, some teams have targeted strategic checkpoints that limit the anti-cancer activity of immune cells, while others have genetically modified the body's immune cells to defeat cancer.

But they can be arduous to prepare, lengthy to administer, or excruciating in their side effects.

'Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. "In the mice, we saw stunning, bodywide impacts, including the disposal of tumors everywhere throughout the creature".

Cancers often exist in a odd kind of limbo with regard to the immune system.

The method works to reactivate the cancer-specific T cells by injecting microgram (a millionth of a gram) amounts of two agents directly into the tumor site.

The first, a short stretch of DNA, works with nearby immune cells to heighten the expression of an activating receptor on the surface of the T cells. Watch the T cells attack cancer throughout the body.

He noted it's a good sign that both agents used in the new treatment are already being tested in people. "An agonistic anti-OX40 antibody can then trigger a T cell immune response, which is specific to the antigens of the injected tumor".

Not only that, it also destroyed rogue cells from the tumors that had already traveled to other sites in the rodents' bodies, researchers reported.

The move follows trials on mice in which the treatment worked "startlingly well", according to researchers, with 90% of the animals cured after one injection, and the rest after a second jab. It has three steps: 1) Deliver immunoenhancing agents to a tumor site.

Mice hereditarily designed to immediately create bosom cancers in every one of the 10 of their mammary cushions likewise reacted to the treatment. The researchers saw similar results in mice bearing breast, colon and melanoma tumors.

After decades of development in the shadow of traditional cancer treatment, immunotherapy has come into the spotlight. Treating the principal tumor that emerged regularly kept the event of future tumors and essentially expanded the creatures' life expectancy, the researchers found.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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