LIFESTYLE

Prostate Cancer Cells 'Almost Completely Destroyed' By New Treatment

30/04/2015 15:23 BST | Updated 30/04/2015 15:59 BST

Scientists have developed a new type of cancer therapy with the potential to wipe out advanced prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer kills roughly 30 men in Britain each day and is responsible for over 10,000 deaths each year.

The new type of treatment, called chemoimmunotherapy, involves using low doses of a drug called oxaliplatin, which can activate cancer-busting immune cells.

So far, the therapy has been trialled on mice successfully and human disease tumours were "almost completely destroyed" by the animals' immune system.

chemotherapy

Currently, chemotherapy can be effective against smaller tumours, however larger prostate tumours accumulate cells which suppress the body's immune response, allowing the cancer to grow.

The study, which was conducted by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, found that blocking or removing immune-suppressing cells allowed a special type of chemotherapy to destroy prostate tumours.

Researchers have coined the treatment "chemoimmunotherapy".

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Scientists looked at three different mouse models of advanced prostate cancer, all three of which were resistant to low doses of the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin.

Researchers blocked the development of "immunosuppressive B cells" or removed them completely and then treated the mice with low-dose oxaliplatin. According to the Daily Mail, the team said that the tumours were "almost completely destroyed" by the mice's own immune cells.

"The presence of such B cells in human prostate cancer calls for clinical testing of this novel therapeutic approach," said Dr Shabnam Shalapour, lead author of the study.

"In addition to prostate cancer, similar immunosuppressive B cells can be detected in other human cancers," said senior author Michael Karin.

"This indicates that B cell-mediated immunosuppression might be the reason several other cancers are also unresponsive to checkpoint inhibitors, raising the hope that chemoimmunotherapy will have broader applications for many cancer types."

The study is published in the journal Nature.

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[H/T Telegraph]