(August 19, 2015) Whereas chemotherapy kills cancer cells only while it is being administered, immunotherapy can lead to an adaptive immune response that persists long after treatment is ceased. By simple analogy, whereas aspirin provides temporary pain relief, a polio vaccine provides lifelong protection. Unfortunately, just as tumors develop resistance to conventional therapies, tumors also work to evade the immune system and to inhibit immune cells from performing their natural function of tumor clearance.
In research recently published in Cancer Immunology Research, 2013 OCRF grant recipient Dr. Michael Goldberg and his colleagues rendered ovarian tumors more apparent to the immune system by combing two FDA-approved drugs, decitabine and anti-CTLA-4, and confirmed that the drugs synergized to cure a majority of mice. The former led to the recruitment of immune cells around the tumors, while the latter — which had no effect when administered by itself — enhanced the antitumor function of the immune cells upon their arrival at the tumor site. The researchers hope that this combination will be explored in clinical trials to provide improved treatment of drug-resistant ovarian cancer.
Read the abstract here.