Today’s Solutions: July 25, 2024

There is something of an art to the science of medicine. We’ve all heard that everyone’s different, and so is their biology. Sometimes, developing the right treatment for a patient’s condition takes dedicated and creative trial and error with their doctor, and finding the right combination of medications can be a bit like solving a puzzle. 

The same goes for research and finding the right combinations of drugs to fight certain maladies. Researchers from the University of Missouri have found a promising combination of immunotherapy drugs to fight liver cancer

This hopeful match involves a tumor-suppressing lipid molecule called nanoliposome C6-ceramide (LipC6) and an antibody for cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4). When used together, these drugs significantly slowed cancer growth in the liver and enhanced the strength of cancer-fighting T cells. 

“Our analysis revealed the combination therapy significantly extended the life span of tumor-bearing mice compared to the mice with a single type of therapy or no therapy at all,” says co-principal investigator Guangfu Li, associate professor in the surgery department and the molecular microbiology and immunology department at the University of Missouri.

Liver cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, but there remains a lack of effective treatments for this specific kind of cancer, which is what inspires such hope in Li and other researchers. 

After successful tests on mice, there is still much research to be done to make sure that this drug combination would be as effective with humans. Human responses to similar immunotherapy drugs have been a bit of a mixed bag, but the good news is that these drugs are already approved for humans by the FDA.

If this combo proves effective in human trials, we could see it fast-tracked into hospitals to help liver cancer patients, who have only an average five-year survival rate of 20 percent. 

Source Study: FACEB JournalNanoliposome C6‐Ceramide in combination with anti‐CTLA4 antibody improves anti‐tumor immunity in hepatocellular cancer – Qi – 2022 – The FASEB Journal – Wiley Online Library

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