From: Childrens Hosptial of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Published February 15, 2017 10:36 AM

Ottawa researchers kill brain cancer in mice with combination immunotherapies

A promising combination of immunotherapies delivers a one-two punch to brain cancer tumours with high cure rates in mice, scientific evidence published in Nature Communications today says.

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa found that a combination of drugs known as SMAC Mimetics and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) amplifies kill rates of cancer tumour cells in laboratory testing. Researchers also discovered a new mechanism by which the combination promotes long-term immunity against glioblastoma tumours. The combination therapy also proved to be highly effective against breast cancer and multiple myeloma. 

“These findings represent a significant evolution in our research and the field of immunotherapy. We are the first in the world to show the synergistic tumour-killing impact of combining SMAC Mimetics with immune checkpoint inhibitors for glioblastoma,” said Dr. Robert Korneluk, distinguished professor at the University of Ottawa and senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute. “You could say it takes two to tango. We believe that it takes a combination strategy to impact cancer cure rates.”

In 2014, a team of scientists led by Dr. Korneluk discovered that combining SMAC Mimetics with immune stimulators or live virus therapies had a synergistic or amplified tumour-killing effect that was greater than either agent on its own. Today’s news shows that SMAC Mimetics also have a powerful synergistic effect with ICIs, relatively new drugs that are showing great promise in the clinic. SMAC Mimetics known as LCL161 and Birinapant were combined with ICI antibodies targeting PD-1 and CTLA-4 immune checkpoints. 

Read more at Children's Hosptial of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

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