Combining therapies could help cancer patients
Simultaneous immunotherapy and radiotherapy treatments has shown promising results, says a study published in Cancer Research.
Combining the treatments helped the immune system in mice find and destroy breast, skin and bowel cancer cells, researchers based at the University of Manchester have found.
Radiotherapy is a successful method of treating many cancers. But sometimes, radiotherapy can switch on a “flag” called PD-L1 on the surface of cancer cells it has not killed. This flag falsely tells the body’s defences that these cells pose no danger.
Immunotherapy lowers the flag so that the true nature of these cells are revealed to the immune system allowing it to go to work, the researchers found. Mice treated with this approach had improved survival rates.
“We are still at the early stages of understanding how best to use these types of treatments,” said lead researcher Simon Dovedi. “We’re now looking to test this in a clinical trial to see just how much of a difference it could make.”