According to a study published in the journal Blood, University of Manchester researchers believe that by using a chemical in conjunction with radiation therapy, they can boost the time a patient remains free of lymphoma by a factor of four, compared with radiation therapy alone.
The chemical is called R848. It sends signals to the receptors on the surface of immune cells, which excites them into action, creating an expanding pool of immune killer T-cells, thereby using the body's immune system to help fight the lymphoma. The chemical was used in unison with radiotherapy.
"Excitingly we think that this new approach to treating cancer could be capable of giving patients a better response to conventional therapies through the generation of a lymphoma-specific immune response against tumor cells," said one of the researchers, Prof. Tim Illidge.
"This could be the key to ensuring long-term survival in more patients and reducing the number of relapses after initial therapy."
Treatment not yet tested in humans
The chemical did not seem to cause any major side effects, but this experiment and these findings are the result of work done in mice, and the strategy and treatment has yet to move into the clinical phase and be tested in humans.
That said, enrolling the immune system in fighting lymphoma or any cancer is considered the gold standard, and these researchers think they may have found a way to do just that. More research will shed light on whether or not they are on to something truly promising.
Source: Medical News Today