Bowel cancer completely cured in mice
*Blood thinning drugs taken by millions slash risk by 16%
Scientists say they have ‘completely’ cured bowel cancer using a pioneering form of immunotherapy. They report they have achieved a ‘100 percent cure rate’ in mice without any treatment-related toxic effects.
A United States (U.S.) team developed a new type of radioimmunotherapy (RIT), which combines traditional radiation treatment and immunotherapy. They believe it has the potential to eradicate ‘virtually all’ types of tumors.
Immunotherapy has been hailed as a potential ‘game-changer’ in cancer treatment that could replace chemotherapy within a few years’ time, ‘waking up’ a patient’s own immune system and teaching the body to attack malignant cells.
The researchers, whose paper was published in in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, hope their finding can be replicated in other cancers.
Until now, RIT has had limited success combating solid tumors, say the researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
But they have devised a new type of the treatment which, they say, has worked because it delivers the correct amount of radiation.
Study authors Steven Larson and Sarah Cheal from MSKCC wrote: “If clinically successful, our approach will expand the repertoire of effective treatments for oncologic patients.
“The system is designed as a “plug and play” system, which allows for the use of many fine antibodies targeting human tumor antigens and is applicable, in principle, to virtually all solid and liquid tumors in man.”
The team carried out their experiment on 10 mice, which are biologically very similar to humans.
They aimed to target an antigen – which help cancer cells grow – called glycoprotein A33 (GPA33). This is found in more than 95 percent of primary and metastatic colorectal cancers in humans.
The did this using an antibody to specifically target this harmful antigen. They also used a second antibody to work as a radioactive hapten, which are molecules that prompt an immune response when attached to antibodies – to boost the effect.
This then found the cancer cells in the mice, destroyed them, leaving healthy cells unharmed.
All the treated animals tolerated the treatment well, and all had no trace of cancer remaining upon microscopic examination.
Furthermore, there was also no detectable radiation damage to critical organs, including bone marrow and kidneys.
“This research is novel because of the benchmarks reached by the treatment regimen, in terms of curative tumor doses, with non-toxic secondary radiation to the body’s normal tissues,” wrote the researchers.
Also, common blood thinners taken by heart patients could also cut the risk of cancer, a major study of 1.25million people suggests.
The research found that middle-aged people who took blood thinning warfarin pills were far less likely to develop cancer later in life.
Warfarin is taken by hundreds of thousands of people in the United Kingdom (UK) and millions across the world to stop the formation of blood clots.
People who have suffered a heart attack or a stroke are often prescribed the drugs, as are people who are at risk of clots because they suffer from an irregular heartbeat or have had surgery.
The new research, conducted among over-50s in Norway, found it may come with the additional benefit of reducing cancer risk.
Patients who took the drug were 16 per cent less likely to develop cancer of any type than those who did not, the University of Bergen scientists found.
What else did the study find? The study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, found particular benefits for the reduction of three of the most common cancers – those of the breast, prostate and lungs.
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