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Combo therapy shrinks tumours
Using drugs that block the formation of new blood vessels could boost the effectiveness of a cancer immunotherapy, a mouse study has found.
Arming the immune system so that it can better fight cancer is a new area of medicine, which has begun to take off in recent years. However, even the most effective strategies have limited effect in most patients, which has led researchers to try combining them with other therapies.
Working with various mouse models, a team that included Roche scientists showed that administering an antibody designed to activate the CD40 receptor on the surface of immune cells led to greater infiltration of tumours by cancer-killing T cells. However, the T cells stayed on the edges of the tumor.
Adding another antibody drug that blocks two proteins involved in blood-vessel growth — and thus helped stabilize the tumour vasculature — led to increased penetration of T cells and greater destruction of tumour tissue.
Roche is evaluating the combination drug strategy in cancer patients.
- PNAS 117, 541–551 (2020). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1902145116