Leukaemia drug ‘improves immune response against other cancers’

12 June 2014

Experimental medicines, currently being tested for the treatment of leukaemia, could also boost the body’s immune response against other types of cancer, suggests new research from University College London (UCL).

The drugs target a protein - p110δ - which is produced in vast quantities in white blood cells called leukocytes.

Leukaemia arises when these cells become cancerous, at which point p110δ becomes a target for treatments.

Recent clinical trials testing the effectiveness of these drugs have shown encouraging results and the latest research reveals they boost the body’s immune response against several tumour types.

The team behind the new study demonstrated that p110δ inhibitors worked by disarming a family of immune cells and releasing another type that is able to target, as well as kill, tumour cells.

According to the researchers, these findings suggest the inhibitors could harness the power of the body’s own immune system when combined with other treatments.

Professor Nic Jones, chief scientist for Cancer Research UK, which part-funded the research, said: “This new finding, although only at an early stage, offers the potential to develop more treatments that can do this in many more cancers, including ones that have real need for more effective treatments such as pancreatic cancer.

“If the findings hold true in cancer patients this could make a big difference to many of them.”

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 

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