Clinical trial hints at new treatment option for bladder cancer
14th October 2020
Thanks to supporters like you, scientists in the Netherlands have made progress towards a new treatment option for patients with bladder cancer. Results from an early stage clinical trial, called NABUCCO, show that combining two types of immunotherapy prior to surgery in bladder cancer patients could be an effective way to stop the cancer coming back.
The NABUCCO trial involved 24 patients with advanced bladder cancer who received two immunotherapy drugs prior to their surgery. Following surgery, it was discovered that nearly all the removed tumours had shrunk after treatment with immunotherapy. Remarkably, 11 of the 24 patients had no remaining tumour after treatment.
The number of people worldwide diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2020.
The number of people worldwide who died from bladder cancer in 2020.
Professor Maries van den Broek, a Worldwide Cancer Research scientist who worked on the study, analysed the tissue removed from the patients during surgery to look for markers that could be used to explain why some patients responded better than others to immunotherapy. Her team were particularly interested in something called tertiary lymphoid structures, special sites in the body that help to activate immune cells in their fight against cancer.
Professor Broek found that these tertiary lymphoid structures were induced in the tumours following treatment with immunotherapy, suggesting that these structures could be playing a vital role in making immunotherapy work better. However, the presence of these structures prior to treatment did not help predict who would respond well to the drugs.
Professor Broek said, “Our observation that pre-treatment tertiary lymphoid structures did not predict response to immunotherapy was rather unexpected because it contrasts with findings in other cancer types. We now need to examine whether tertiary lymphoid structures are different between cancer types or tissues that could explain this discrepancy”.
Although this is an early stage trial, the results are promising. The researchers say that combining the two immunotherapy drugs prior to surgery could be an effective approach to treating this group of bladder cancer patients who often have a poor prognosis. Over 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year in the UK and only around four out of ten people with advanced bladder cancer are likely to survive 5 years after their diagnosis.
Professor Broek said, “Our study contributes to better understanding the interactions between cancer and the immune system. Such knowledge is essential for developing novel treatments. Our approach needs to be investigated in larger trials, which may lead to better treatments for bladder cancer.”
Incredible discoveries like this would not happen without research – and research cannot happen without the support of people like you. If you’re feeling inspired, why not help us make the breakthroughs of the future by donating and starting new cancer cures today?Donate
New discovery starts drug development for pancreatic cancer
Scientists have discovered several new compounds that inhibit a protein that is known to play a role in tumour progression and metastasis in pancreatic, as well as several other cancers.
13 August 2020
Clinical trials for new cancer vaccine could start within three years
Scientists are ready to start clinical trials for a new cancer vaccine thanks to a recent research breakthrough. The team hope to begin clinical trials within the next three years.
29 July 2020
Ground-breaking discovery opens door to new treatments for childhood brain cancer
Scientists have uncovered a promising new treatment approach that in the future could improve survival for the most common type of childhood brain tumour - called medulloblastoma.
10 July 2020