New drug could ‘improve effectiveness of radiotherapy’

14 May 2014

A new drug could potentially be used to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy in stopping tumour growth, according to a new study from the University of Manchester.

Recently, scientists have become increasingly interested in using the body’s own immune system to attack cancerous cells. This method is popular as it is effective without the subsequent side-effects of chemotherapy.

Skin cancers have been successfully treated this way, by using a topical cream that recruits immune cells through a molecule known as toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7).

In the new study, scientists looked at a different molecule that activates TLR7, known as DSR-6434. Using mice models, they investigated the particle on its own and in combination with radiotherapy, and tested its effectiveness on tumours.

Professor Ian Stratford, lead author of the research, said: “We have already seen a strong immune system response from other immunotherapy agents in combination with radiation – this new agent appears to be even more potent.”

His team demonstrated that DSR-6434 combined with radiotherapy led to tumour shrinkage and increased long-term survival, as well as reducing the occurrence of secondary lung malignancies.

“These results strongly suggest that this sort of combination therapy should be evaluated in clinical trials with cancer patients,” the professor concluded.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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