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Immune drug for prostate cancer?

Thursday June 28th, 2018

Researchers have found promising results using an immunotherapy drug alongside hormone treatment for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer cells can become resistant to hormone therapy, so a team from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK, searched for methods to reactivate the body's response to hormone treatment.

They experimented on mice and human prostate cancer cells in the lab, and found that blocking the IL-23 protein, made by granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the immune system, could reactivate sensitivity to treatment.

There are already drugs to block IL-23, which are frequently used for autoimmune diseases. The next step is to carry out clinical trials of IL-23 blockers plus the next-generation hormone therapy enzalutamide, in this patient group.

Professor Johann de Bono and colleagues believe that the combination of drugs could improve outcomes for advanced prostate cancer, and "has potential to work in larger proportion of patients than existing immunotherapies".

The study was published last night in Nature.

Professor de Bono said: "Hormone therapy works well in men with prostate cancer, but when cancer evolves to become resistant to treatment, other options are greatly reduced.

"Our study found an important interaction between hormone signalling and the immune system. We believe we could exploit this to reverse hormone resistance in prostate cancer, and boost the effect of widely used prostate cancer drugs such as enzalutamide.

"We are keen to start clinical trials to investigate how we can combine this new form of immunotherapy with existing hormone therapies, to improve treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer."

Nature 27 June 2018

Tags: Cancer | Men's Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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