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Experimental drug boosts immunotherapy treatment of pancreatic cancer in mice

An experimental drug helped boost the effectiveness of immunotherapy against pancreatic cancer in mice, according to a recent study published this week in the Journal of Cancer Immunotherapy. Researchers from Georgetown Lombardy Comprehensive Cancer Center and BioXcel Therapeutics in Washington, D.C. found that BXCL701, an experimental peptidyl peptidase (DPP) inhibitor, increases the number of immune cells surrounding a tumor, slowing tumor growth and, in some mice, eliminating cancer. According to a press release.

“We showed that by combining this drug with immunotherapy, we were able to activate the immune system in such a way that it could quickly dissolve pancreatic tumors and even cure some mice completely.” Alison Fitzgerald, Ph.D., at the Georgetown Lombardy Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-first author of the study, told Fox News during an interview this week.

Health experts told Fox News that pancreatic cancer is resistant to immunotherapy. These findings provide early evidence that the drug can stimulate an immune response against the disease, the researchers said in the report.

The Ohio woman claims she is now cancer-free after the clinical trial.
(iStock)

Wistar Vaccine Manager  Immunotherapy Center Dr. David Weiner (left) oversees the work of Research Assistant Professor Dr. Amy Patel, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wistar Vaccine Manager Immunotherapy Center Dr. David Weiner (left) oversees the work of Research Assistant Professor Dr. Amy Patel, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Photo: The Wistar Institute)

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Fitzgerald explained to Fox News that some immune cells are able to recognize and kill cancer cells.

“Unfortunately, most cancers have developed ways of overpowering these anticancer immune cells, which allow the cancer to grow unchecked,” Fitzgerald explained. A scar is similar, similar to a moat that surrounds and protects a castle. Just like a moat physically prevents attacks, this scar actually prevents anti-cancer immune cells from reaching the cancer cells.”

The experimental drug could increase the ability of cancer-fighting cells to penetrate scar tissue, allowing them to “cross that ditch,” Fitzgerald told Fox News. The drug was administered orally to mice and when it was given in combination with other anticancer immunotherapies, researchers saw that some mice made a full recovery, according to the report.

*** Reserved until 16.00 GMT, Thursday 11 October (11.00 ET) *** This image shows a healthy adult female mouse (born to mothers) with its own offspring.  See the NNmice national story;  Mice carrying two mothers were born using stem cells and genetic modification.  Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences were able to produce healthy mice with two mothers who went on to have normal offspring.  Two parent mice were also born - but they only survived for a few days.  The study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, looked at what makes producing same-sex offspring so challenging for animals — and suggests that some of these barriers could be overcome using stem cells and targeted gene editing.  Study co-author Dr Qi Zhou said: "We were interested in the question of why mammals can only undergo sexual reproduction.

*** Reserved until 16.00 GMT, Thursday 11 October (11.00 ET) *** This image shows a healthy adult female mouse (born to mothers) with its own offspring. See the NNmice national story; Mice carrying two mothers were born using stem cells and genetic modification. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences were able to produce healthy mice with two mothers who went on to have normal offspring. Two parent mice were also born – but they only survived for a few days. The study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, looked at what makes producing same-sex offspring so challenging for animals — and suggests that some of these barriers could be overcome using stem cells and targeted gene editing. Dr Chi Zhou, lead researcher on the study, said: “We were interested in the question of why mammals can only undergo sexual reproduction.

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studying He used two different mouse “models” of pancreatic cancer, one with the same genetic abnormalities seen in human pancreatic cancers. Fitzgerald explained to Fox News that this model “is similar to human pancreatic cancer under a microscope, and even responds to treatment similarly to patients with pancreatic cancer. For this reason, we believe that this model should be closely related to human disease.”

The researchers also noted that the drug was equally effective in a second model of pancreatic cancer, giving hope that these results will also be consistent in human patients.

Besides treating some of the mice in the study, the authors note that the combination treatment also created memory immune cells in the mice. According to the release, when cancer cells were injected into the treated mice months later, the immune systems of 10 of the 13 mice were able to detect and kill the cancer cells, leaving them free of cancer again. “If this finding holds true in humans, this means that the treatment may have the potential to offer long-term therapies for patients with pancreatic cancer,” Fitzgerald said in the statement.

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The study’s corresponding author, Dr. Louis Weiner, who is also director of Georgetown Lombardy and director of the laboratory where the research was conducted said in the statement, “What we found unique in our study is how this candidate drug appears to enhance the efficacy of the immune response in pancreatic cancer, which is notable because standard immunotherapies It hasn’t worked yet.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 60,430 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 with an estimated 48,220 deaths, according to the statement. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancer, the health organization said, with only about 10 percent of pancreatic cancer patients surviving for five years or more.

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