Researchers develop new drug that activates immune system in patients with advanced cancer

New study from the University of Turku in Finland has shown that there is a treatment that can activate the immune system of patients with advanced cancer

A team of scientists from the University of Turku (Finland) has shown that an antibody treatment, bexmarilimab, reactivates the immune system in patients with advanced stages Cancer.

According to them results, published in the journal ‘Clinical Cancer Research’, the treatment changes the function of phagocytes in the body. And, in this way, it facilitates a broad activation of the immune defense.

It is the body’s own defense system equipped to fight cancer. However, cancer learns to hide from immune attacks. And take advantage of this system to promote its own growth. Therefore, it would be beneficial to be able to restore the immune defense to restrict the advancement of cancer.

Macrophages, a type of white blood cell, are essential in the fight against cancer. Cancer trains macrophages to control the defense system and makes many treatments targeting the immune system ineffective.

Study development and subsequent conclusions

“In the majority of patients, the antibody treatment activated the killer T cells, which are the body’s force against cancer. In addition, antibody treatment has been successful in reducing the suppressive potential of macrophage precursors circulating in the bloodstream. The patients also showed an increase in certain mediators of inflammation and types of white blood cells in the blood, ”describes study leader Maija Hollmén.

“The activation of killer T cells is a very promising demonstration of the ability of the antibody to strengthen the defense system against cancer. The patients treated had very advanced and barely treatable cancers, which underlines the importance of the results, ”adds another of the authors, doctoral student Jenna Rannikko.

Research has also provided new information on how bexmarilimab works. The antibody binds to the Clever-1 molecule already present in macrophages and alters its function. Clever-1 transports unnecessary material into the macrophages to be degraded. The objects thus eliminated are, so to speak, hidden under the carpet. This type of concealment is beneficial for the natural balance of the organism and makes it possible not to unnecessarily agitate the immune defenses.

However, cancer cells must be detected. When the antibody is used to stop Clever-1 from doing its cleaning job, it helps activate immune defense cells. This, in part, leads to the awakening of T cells in patients.

Treating breast cancer does not increase the risk of Covid-19

When we began to know all the effects of the pandemic that appeared almost a year ago on our lives, patients diagnosed with cancer began to think about the high probability that they would suffer from it. Most treatments weaken their immune system, so they may have more options to get it.

Now, researchers at the Perlmutter Cancer Center in the United States have shown that only 2% of the 3,000 women who took part in this study contracted the virus. Of this group, 10 died from Covid-19. A figure which, according to experts, was to be expected if we analyzed women in this age group. Whether or not they have breast cancer.

According to the researchers, the treatments have minimal impact on the risk of contracting Covid-19.

“Our results show that patients can safely receive treatment for breast cancer, including chemotherapy, during the pandemic,” said principal investigator of the study and medical oncologist at the Perlmutter Cancer Center Douglas Marks.

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