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A new way to boost chemotherapy action

Worldwide Cancer Research grant holder Professor Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke and her team at the Queen Mary University of London have found a potentially new way to boost chemotherapy effectiveness- by increasing the tumour’s blood supply to make sure more of the anticancer drug gets to where it should be.

In a paper published just this month, the researchers studied both mice and humans to show that using a combination of two special drugs which promote blood vessel growth to tumours helped to improve delivery of chemotherapy to the cancer.

The team also found this technique-termed ‘vascular promotion therapy’-reduced tumour growth and spread, while also making sure side-effects were kept to a minimum.

Speaking about these latest findings Professor Hodivala-Dilke said: “I think this research is really exciting because historically the field has focused on trying to starve cancers by cutting off their blood supply. This work demonstrates that doing the opposite, that is, increasing the tumour blood supply can actually improve the delivery of chemotherapy. This vascular promotion strategy may help to control the cancer growth and may be a new approach to better treat cancer in the future.”

Dr Helen Rippon, Head of Research at Worldwide Cancer Research said: “We’re really pleased we helped to fund this exciting work. There’s still a lot to do to study exactly how this approach might work in humans, but it’s a good step in the right direction. And it’s only because of our supporters that we can fund great work like this.”