Researchers believe that using radiation initially followed by immounotherapy may help in reawakening the immune system of cancer patients.
Australian scientists are testing radiotherapy to fight aggressive breast cancer by reawakening the immune system of the patients.
Two clinical trials combining radiation with immunotherapy are under way and a third will begin recruiting patients with triple negative breast cancer later this year, researchers said. “Using radiation first in aggressive breast cancer, followed by immunotherapy to amplify the immune response, to cancer was an ’emerging idea’,” said Sherene Loi, Associate Professor at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia.
The trials follow promising animal studies, where radiation was successfully used to ‘prime’ the immune system for it to take over the cancer fight, ‘The Herald Sun’ reported. “If you have got primary cancer in the breast, that is usually very curable. If it comes back, it is usually incurable and we think that is because it outwits the immune system,” Loi said. “Once you develop cancer your immune system has failed. It can not see the cancer any more, and it also actively suppresses the immune system,” Loi said.