Mayo Clinic’s Potential Immunotherapy Drug Combination to Treat Cancer
Researchers from Mayo Clinic designed a drug combination which increases immune potential so that the immune system can search and attack the cancer cells. The combination proved effective against advanced and metastatic cancer.
According to the researchers, cancer remains unobtrusive for a long period of time and coexist with the immune system. Mayo Clinic cancer immunotherapist Peter Cohen, M.D., who co-led the study with Mayo Clinic immunologist Sandra Gendler, Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellow Soraya Zorro Manrique, Ph.D explained “Cancers can remain inconspicuous in the body for months to years before causing major problems, leading the immune system to coexist rather than to attack cancers”
The investigation team administered Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists which acts like invasive bacteria or checkpoint inhibitors, individually as well as in combination with the chemotherapy agent, cyclophosphamide to enhance the effect of immunotherapy in the experimental “advanced mouse” models. The therapeutic combinations activated the immune system and the highly aggressive forms of breast cancer and pancreatic cancer were depleted within two cycles of treatment or its recurrence was inhibited when in the advanced mouse model five cycles of additional consolidated treatment were completed.
The results proved that the therapeutic combination of chemotherapy agent cyclophosphamide and TLR agonists were potentially more effective in removing the tumor cells rather than the individual drugs.
One of the significant revelations of the research was that the T-lymphocytes were showing immune response against the cancer cells present in the mouse even before the treatment but the response was therapeutically activated by weekly injections of the TLR agonist and cyclophosphamide. Also, the therapeutic combination is effective against locally in the tumor sites as well as in the widespread metastasis. Added advantage of the drug combination was its ability to activate monocytes which is a type of white blood cell which further helps in killing the cancer cells.
Dr. Gendler explained “It appears very likely that each round of treatment stimulates the bone marrow to churn out freshly activated monocytes, which distribute throughout the body, spare normal cells, and find and kill cancer cells.”
After the successful completion of experimental model, Mayo Clinic is expanding their research to FDA approved clinical trials with patients suffering from advanced cancers of pancreas, breast, colorectal, melanoma and a few more, to evaluate the effect of the drug combination. If similar response is obtained in the clinical trials, the designed drug combo is definitely going to be a “one of a kind” drug with its ability to treat various cancers with near perfect eradication rate.