Experimental drug gives hope against blood cancer

Scientists have developed an experimental drug that could help us fend off blood cancer by stimulating the immune system.

According to a study published in journal Nature Medicine, the new drug may stimulate the immune system, which could eventually lead to tumor shrinkage in patients affected by blood cancer.

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects plasma cells – white blood cells that normally produce antibodies to fight infection.

Of the study of 25 Multiple Myeloma patients, the research highlights the importance of studying the effects of drug – LCL161 – not only on the tumor cells in a culture plate, but also on the interaction of the tumor cells with their own microenvironment.

Researchers say that the drug was initially developed to promote tumor death, but scientists found that the drug doesn’t kill the tumour cells directly, but instead makes them more visible to the immune system that recognises them as foreigner invaders and eliminates them.

The finding suggest that LCL161 is active against multiple myeloma suggests that similar drugs may have broader clinical activity than previously thought. As the cancer cells grow, they secrete large amounts of a single antibody that accumulate in the body, causing kidney problems and infections.

“The model for preclinical studies to predict with great accuracy which drugs would work in the clinic was developed a decade ago,” says one of the authors of the study. “And it has been instrumental in the prioritisation of which experimental therapeutics should be tested in patients with multiple myeloma.

“The researchers will conduct a follow-up clinical trial of LCL161 in combination with an inhibitor of immune checkpoints that has been widely used in many cancer treatments.