A groundbreaking American immunotherapy study has shown that they are able to make cancerous tumours in mice disappear within a week.
The startling findings were made by a group of scientists at Rice University, which is located in the city of Houston, in the southern US state of Texas, and they worked with researchers from the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center and from the University of Virginia.
The study was led by Dr Omid Veiseh, an Assistant Professor of bioengineering at Rice University, who explained that they had developed minuscule “drug factories” that they then implanted into mice that deliver high doses of interleukin-2, which is a molecule that works with the immune system to help regulate the activities of white blood cells.
Dr Veiseh said: “We just administer once, but the drug factories keep making the dose every day, where it’s needed, until the cancer is eliminated.”
He added: “Once we determined the correct dose – how many factories we needed – we were able to eradicate tumours in 100 percent of animals with ovarian cancer and in seven of eight animals with colorectal cancer.”
He also stated that the ingredients used in the drug had also “previously been used in human clinical trials” and were “safe”.
And Professor Amir Jazaeri, a co-author of the study and a professor of gynaecologic oncology and reproductive medicine at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center said: “A major challenge in the field of immunotherapy is to increase tumour inflammation and anti-tumour immunity while avoiding systemic side effects of cytokines and other pro-inflammatory drugs.”
The research findings have been published in the academic journal Science Advances in a paper titled “Clinically translatable cytokine delivery platform for eradication of intraperitoneal tumours.”