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Rad Oncology Homepage

Demand on the rise for MR-guided radiotherapy, says new report Compound annual growth rate of 20 percent through 2028

New proton therapy center planned in Russia Investment calls for 7.5 billion rubles to bring greater cancer care to patients

NYC proton facility opens for business $300 million dollar, 140,000 square-foot facility was ten years in the making

Bill aiming to reduce prior authorization delays for cancer treatment introduced in Congress Supporting timely access to care

Roche and GE Healthcare release NAVIFY Tumor Board 2.0 Supports personalized treatment decision-making

Cancer mortality for men, women and children on the decline, says report Decreased by 1.8 percent in men and 1.4 percent in women

FDA okays Philips' MR-only radiotherapy simulator, MRCAT pelvis Create treatment plans for bladder, rectal, anal and cervical cancer

Japanese startup to develop ultra-compact proton therapy system Designed to replace conventional radiotherapy systems

Varian to acquire Cancer Treatment Services International for $283 million Enables production of multidisciplinary solutions

Varian acquires CyberHeart, enters cardiac radioablation market Emerging technology could benefit treatment of irregular heartbeats

A series of study have identified
potential ways for reducing resistance
within the immune system to
radiotherapy for fighting cancer cells

Studies unveil measures for reducing resistance to radiotherapy in tumors

by John R. Fischer , Staff Reporter
A series of studies have outlined insights which may aid in reducing resistance within the immune system to radiation therapy for combating tumors.

The cause of such resistance in all three studies falls on Treg cells, immunosuppressant cells that prevent effector T cells from destroying healthy tissue. This function, however, also prevents the effector T cells killing cancer cells. Combined with other factors, the researchers found that reducing the amount of Tregs resulted in less resistance to radiotherapy, helping to make it a potent immunotherapeutic agent.

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“The genomics and characteristics of the cancer cell still matter, but so does the surrounding tumor microenvironment,” Sana Karam, assistant professor of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Colorado, told HCB News. “In people, we are irradiating the cancer in its entirety and the effects will be on the tumor cells and other cells within the tumor. Some of these effects will be suppressive to the growth of cancer cells while others may not be. To be able to reach a point where we can talk about tumor eradication, we have to leverage the pros of radiation in suppressing tumor growth and overcome any tumor promoting properties.”

The stimulation of the immune system with radiotherapy to attack cancer cells throughout the body was first witnessed by radiation oncologists over a decade ago, prompting numerous attempts to replicate the actions and create systemic anti-cancer activity by combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy. Such attempts, however, have not been successful, even when employing triple therapy and different targeted strategies.

Alone, radiation therapy was not enough to destroy head and neck cancer models grown in mice in the first study. Treg depletion alone had the same outcome. When combined together, however, a potent reduction in tumors was observed, with radiation acting as stimulant that "turned on" the T effector cells of the immune system and enabled them to attack the cancer. The decrease in Tregs, meanwhile, prevented the cancer from "turning them off".

The approach is limited, due to there being no agent able to eradicate Tregs safely in humans. The study, however, may offer a possible solution by inhibiting communication between the proteins EphB4 and ephrinB2. Essential for neurogenesis in the developing brain, studies have revealed an up-regulation of both in various cancers, including head and neck, and pancreatic malignancies. Inhibiting the interaction between them reduces the growth of tumors, while depleting the number of T-regulatory cells.
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