Could less deadly therapies be a better way to keep cancer in check?

October 02, 2018

While many cancer therapies initially can be very successful, tumors often return and spread when remaining cancer cells develop resistance to treatment. To combat this tendency, Frédéric Thomas of the French National Centre for Scientific Research proposes that cancer researchers take a lesson from our own immune system and explore "natural adaptive therapies." Such an approach would mimic the immune system's more restrained way of keeping cancer in check by gradually killing off cancerous cells. Ideally, these therapies would remove the evolutionary pressure that often leads to the spread of resistant tumors.

In Thomas' article, publishing 2nd October in the open access journal PLOS Biology, he and his colleagues reason that the body has evolved anti-cancer responses that direct and slow the evolution of life-threatening cancer cells by not killing off too many cells too quickly. Natural adaptive therapies would use a similar approach to keep tumor size stable, while slowing the evolution of resistance. This strategy may be especially useful to prolong lifespan and quality of life in patients after a cancer has metastasized.

The authors also explore the risk that cancer immunotherapies may force the immune system to rapidly kill malignant cells in a way that undermines the body's natural adaptive therapies, thus accelerating the evolution of immune resistance.

According to Thomas, further explorations into the mechanisms employed by the immune system to stabilize tumors could help researchers to identify new therapies to prevent tumor growth and metastasis.
-end-
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Biology: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2007066

Citation: Thomas F, Donnadieu E, Charriere GM, Jacqueline C, Tasiemski A, Pujol P, et al. (2018) Is adaptive therapy natural? PLoS Biol 16(10): e2007066. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2007066

Funding: ANR EVOCAN. Received by FT. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.