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Cancer Cell Immunotherapy

Diagnosis of cancer is heartbreaking for both patients and family members. Previously there was no medicine or therapy to treat it. Now we’ve come a long way from that situation. It is a relief that treatment options are available in most types of cancers; unless it is 4th stage cancer.

It Is Needless to say that not all therapists will work to deliver fruitful results. In the last few years, doctors have seen patients develop resistance to immunotherapy which hinders the elimination of tumors. However, scientists have a new combination of drugs that might combat this resistance and allow immunotherapy to do its work.

Immunity it is hey complex system of ever-evolving and adapting cells and tissues that help us fight off numerous pathogens, the infections of which can be fatal in the later stage. This system consists of different types of cells such as T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, macrophages, etc. These cells patrol around our body to check for any pathogen or abnormal growth of cells and they cluster in in a lump known as lymph nodes all around our body.

Scientists have managed to develop ways to enhance our innate immunity and adaptive immunity to fight off any tumors. Some of the immunotherapy options are CAR T cell therapy, Cancer vaccine, etc. But all of this therapy do not work on all kinds of cancers. It is a concern globally as there are more than hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from cancer.

Coming back do the treatment options to fight off the resistance to immunotherapy, doctors and scientists have a two-pronged approach – immunotherapy combined with guadecitabine. Guadecitabine Is an experimental drug that is used to reverse the resistance to immunotherapy.

The combination of pembrolizumab and guadecitabine proved to halt the cancer and add more years to the life of the cancer affected. The former is an immunotherapy drug while the latter helps in overcoming the resistance to immunotherapy.

The drug pembrolizumab is a checkpoint inhibitor drug, which is proven to halt the progression of lung cancer and skin cancers among many. Over prolonged use of the same drug, the cancer cells develop resistance towards it and find a way to grow inside our body again. In such case, the drug is of no use and we say our body is resistant to immunotherapy.

Dr. Anna Minchom, who led the trial is a clinical scientist in the Institute of Cancer Research believes that this combination would work wonderfully even if the patient has stopped responding to the immunotherapy. Experts from the panel confirm the potency of this combination after seeing the results.

The patients involved were brought in from Royal Marsden and University College London Hospital, suffering from lung cancer, blood cancer, and prostate, and bowel cancer.

The chief investigator of the study said that stated what’s special about this study. It is the application of various methods along with immunotherapy to treat cancer and close supervision on how the drugs are affecting cancer.
Let’s find out more about the study. The study was conducted on total of 34 cancer patients, according to reports, 30 cancer patients took preliminary tests for cancer growth. They were injected with guadecitabine for 4 (four) days in a row and pembrolizumab on first of those days. The routine was followed every 3(three) weeks for 3(three) years.

The drug combination seem to work as 4 out of 10 people, who previously had resistance to immunotherapy, their cancer did not grow further. For 30 % of the 30 people who had taken preliminary tests show a halt in cancer growth as well for more than 24 weeks. Interestingly, patients with lung cancer responded well to this drug combination.
Above was the results of the phase 1 trial and the scientists were quite pleased to see positive results on the first phase itself. A detailed description of the study and results is published in the Journal of Immunotherapy for Cancer. You can download this paper and have a read yourself for more insightful information.

De Bono, a professor in the experimental cancer medicine program at the Institute of Cancer Research says that he is positive to see such encouraging results in other study groups as well. Only when this study passes through tough checking and scrutiny, the drugs pembrolizumab and guadecitabine can tackle the resistance to immunotherapy we see in too many patients nowadays.

A 61 years old woman who took part in the study, was diagnosed with lung cancer four years prior. The doctors said she had only one year to live. Unsatisfied with the prognosis, she decided to take part in the study. Miraculously, throughout the three years there was no progression of cancer and later, there were no signs of cancer. Although she acknowledged the fact that there is chance of the cancer returning, she is happy that novel approaches are taken to solve the problem at hand. She expressed gratitude and wants this drug to pass the rules so that common people can reap it’s benefits like here.

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