Combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy treatment could help in eliminating cancer recurrence

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner 



The Journal of Leukocyte Biology recently published the work of Scientists from the United States who found that combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy treatment could help in eliminating cancer recurrence. The team discovered that chemotherapy alone leads to two types of dormant cancer cells that are not killed out rightly and become resistant to additional chemotherapy.


According to Masoud H. Manjili, “immunotherapy is all about timing,” and that “the best way to apply immunotherapy as cancer prevention is during tumor dormancy to prevent advanced stage disease.” The researchers treated breast cancer cells with a common chemotherapeutic agent in the course of this research. Almost all the cancer cells were killed in the process, but a residual population of tumor cells survived and became dormant, indicating resistance to the treatment.

The team measured the presence of a molecule linked with cell division and discovered that this residual population of dormant cancer cells consisted of an indolent as well as a quiescent population. Subsequently, they introduced immunotherapy to the treatment of the dormant cells with a product of the immune system. It was found that dormant cells were susceptible to immunotherapy, and that quiescent, but not indolent cancer cells, could not escape from immunotherapy.
In his view, John Wherry who is the deputy Editor of the publishing journal notes that “immunotherapy has become a paradigm shift in medical treatment of disease. Now, instead of our drugs targeting only diseased cells, we can target the immune system and provoke cells of the immune system to do the job for us,” and that “this new study demonstrates the importance of this concept of exploiting the immune system in cancer to target residual disease that our cancer drugs miss.”

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Masoud H. Manjili, (2016):Tumor-reactive immune cells protect against metastatic tumor and induce immunoediting of indolent but not quiescent tumor cells. Journal of Leukocyte Biology, doi: 10.1189/jlb.5A1215-580R

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