The combination of two alternative cancer therapies that are still in experimental stages could have the power to transform cancer treatment. The breakthrough discovery was recently announced by Canadian researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (CHEO).
The new cancer therapy combines two alternative cancer treatments pioneered at CHEO: a recently developed viral therapy and an apoptosis protein inhibitor developed nearly two decades ago. Separately, each treatment showed promise but had failed to have a significant impact on cancer remission results. However, when the two therapies were combined in the lab and tested on mice, the results were dramatic. Combination magnified the cancer-killing effect of both therapies, resulting in a 90% cure rate in laboratory mice.
“The discovery, in effect, takes a drug that knocks out the genes that make cancer cells ‘bullet proof’ – something like pulling the plug on those cells’ resistance to dying – and gives it an extra push by priming the body’s immune response.” as lead researcher Dr. John Bell explained to the Ottawa Citizen.
Like other immunotherapy cancer treatments, the Canadian discovery is non-toxic, safe for children, highly effective against cancer and has the potential to be applicable to many different forms of cancer. Clinical trials of the combination therapy are expected to be scheduled soon. If successful, the Canadians estimate it will take about a decade before the new treatment will be available to patients as a non-toxic alternative to traditional chemotherapy and radiation and the destructive toll they take on the body.
As a pioneer in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer, Issels welcomes this promising new addition to the growing body of immunotherapy-based alternative cancer treatments that are changing the way cancer is treated.