The Institute of Cancer Research in London has developed a new type of treatment known as ‘photoimmunotherapy’. Photoimmunotherapy could boost the body’s immune response to cancer cells, and promises potential benefits for those who are diagnosed with glioblastoma.
What is photoimmunotherapy and how can it help?
This treatment uses lab-made synthetic molecules which are bound to cancer cells. These molecules will glow when targeted with light, illuminating any remaining microscopic areas of the tumour after surgery. Additionally, targeting the molecules with near infrared light activates an anti-tumour effect which can kill cancer cells.
Due to the aggressive nature of GBM, any leftover tumour cells can begin to grow rapidly and the tumour can return. It can be difficult to remove as much of the tumour during surgery depending on where in the brain the tumour is located. This study into photoimmunotherapy discovered that the new treatment improved the visibility of cancer cells. Hence, this could aid neurosurgeons when removing the tumour, even when it’s in a difficult region to operate on.
Further clinical trials determining the safety and efficacy for patients will need to be conducted. Researchers can then aim to offer an additional treatment option for our community. Ultimately, improving outcomes and quality of life.
The potential applications of the research also extends beyond brain cancer patients, and is also being consider for other cancers.
To read more scientific information about the study, click here.
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