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Leukemia drug found to stimulate immunity against many cancer types
Date:6/11/2014

mice in which p110δ was blocked survived breast cancer for almost twice as long as mice with active p110δ. Their cancers also spread significantly less, with far fewer and smaller tumours developing. Survival after surgical removal of primary breast cancer tumours was also vastly improved, which has important clinical implications for stopping breast cancer from returning following surgery. The team's data further show that following p110δ inhibition, the immune system could develop an effective memory response to completely fight off the cancer.

Lead author Dr Khaled Ali, who is now based at Amgen, San Francisco, says: "When we first introduced tumours in p110δ-deficient mice, we expected them to grow faster because p110δ is important for the immune system. Instead, some tumours started shrinking. When we investigated this unexpected effect, we found that p110δ is especially important in so-called regulatory T cells which are suppressive immune cells that the tumours engage to protect themselves against immune attack."

The p110δ enzyme is a member of the PI3-kinase family, and is sometimes called PI3Kδ. p110δ and the other PI3Ks are hot drug targets for the pharmaceutical industry as they are implicated in many cancers and are readily druggable.

"Our work shows that p110δ inhibitors can shift the balance from the cancer becoming immune to our body's defences towards the body becoming immune to the cancer, by disabling regulatory T cells," says study co-leader Dr Klaus Okkenhaug of the Babraham Institute. "This provides a rationale for using these drugs against both solid and blood cancers, possibly alongside cancer vaccines, cell therapies and other treatments that further promote tumour-specific immune responses."

Professor Nic Jones, Cancer Research UK's chief scientist and director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, said: "Treatments that train the immune system to recog
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Contact: Harry Dayantis
h.dayantis@ucl.ac.uk
44-020-310-83844
University College London
Source:Eurekalert

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