Combining electrochemotherapy with a Toll Like receptor agonist for the treatment of lung cancer

Posted on: 06 Nov 2018

Combining electrochemotherapy with a Toll Like receptor agonist for the treatment of lung cancer

Linked Breakthrough Research Priorities: 1, 2, 4

Principal Investigator: Dr. Patrick Forde

Project Summary: 

Successful cancer treatment aims to totally eliminate the entire tumour and the risk of recurrence. Treatment currently relies on removal of the primary tumour by surgery or radiotherapy followed by control of the remaining dispersed cancer cells in the whole body usually by chemotherapy. At the Cork Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) we have been examining these two aspects of treatment (removal of the tumour mass and the cancer cells circulating in the body) with the aim of eliminating the tumour mass non-invasively and recruiting an immune response against the remaining cancer cells.

We will examine the use of electric pulses to aid in the delivery to drugs to tumour tissue. Short electric pulses have been demonstrated to make tissue temporarily more porous and allow a much greater uptake of therapeutic agents by the cancer cells. Over 400 patients with inoperable skin cancers have been treated with this approach at the CCRC with over 85% showing a positive response to treatment. The drug toxicity is limited to the site where the electric pulses are delivered. In this therapy, the toxicity is directly at the tumour tissue, thereby saving healthy organs and tissues. We will combine this with a modulator designed to improve the immune response at the site of the tumour.

Our aim is to develop this treatment further through the application a non-invasive method to deliver drugs and thereby allow the treatment of lung cancer and combining with a modulator to enhance the anti-tumour immune response. Such an approach has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for lung cancer patients and also reduce the costs associated with therapy through shorter treatment times, reduced hospitalisation and volume of chemotherapy drugs required.

 

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