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Immunotherapy to fight pancreatic cancer

Posted by: Research 2 September 2013

As reported in the Sunday Telegraph this weekend, University of Southampton scientists have developed a new type of drug that "revs up" the immune system to destroy cancer, and it is being tested on humans for the first time.

The treatment has been developed in an attempt to tackle cancers, such as those of the pancreas, head and neck, that are particularly hard to deal with using available techniques.

Richard Gray, science correspondent at the Telegraph newspaper, reports,

"The new drug works by increasing the ability of the immune system to recognise and attack tumours. Recent research has suggested that many cancers can switch off immune cells, leaving them unable to follow their natural course of attacking the tumour and stopping its growth.

"The new drug, which is called ChiLob 7/4, turns these cells back on and increases their numbers. By giving patients a vaccine at the same time that can train these immune cells to target cancer, doctors say they can focus the immune system's attacks on the tumour. 

"A trial of 26 patients with pancreatic cancer has already shown encouraging results and now the scientists are to start a £5 million European Union funded trial of the new treatment next year.

"The drug is the latest in an emerging field of cancer treatment known as immunotherapy that attempts to exploit the patient's own immune system to tackle tumours rather than relying upon chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill the cancer cells."

At Pancreatic Cancer UK we look forward to seeing the results of the ChiLob7-4 clinical trials and if they are successful for the treatment to be used throughout the UK.

You can read the full article here.