Delivering immunotherapy to the heart of lung cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common type of lung cancer, has no cure and the overall survival rate is estimated to be only 20 per cent. It’s therefore critical that research uncovers new ways to treat the 1.7 million people diagnosed with NSCLC each year. Immunotherapy, a treatment that acts by turning the patient’s immune system against the tumour, holds real promise for treating NSCLC, but is held back by our inability to target the treatment directly at the tumour.
Professor Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke has previously found that by using low doses of a drug originally designed to cut off the blood supply to a tumour, they are, counterintuitively, able to increase blood flow to the tumour and increase the level of chemotherapy that reaches the tumour. This odd finding has led Professor Hodivala-Dilke to investigate if a similar approach could be used to target the cancer-killing effects of immunotherapy directly at the tumour.
Professor Hodivala-Dilke and her team, based at Queen Mary University of London, England, aim to test a new drug in pre-clinical studies to see if it can boost the effects of immunotherapy in NSCLC. If successful, her team hopes that they will be able to take the new drug forward into clinical trials to treat lung cancer patients.