In cancer, it’s back to the future as old treatments make cutting-edge ones more effective

New cancer drugs that unleash the immune system on tumors are all the rage, viagra 60mg getting credit for curing former President Jimmy Carter’s advanced melanoma and inspiring tech billionaire Sean Parker to pledge $250 million to cancer research. Behind the excitement, buy cialis however, is the hard truth that these therapies work in only a minority of patients.

Now scientists are finding hints of a solution in an unexpected place: Older, out-of-favor cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation may make the cutting-edge immune-based drugs effective against more cancers — even hard-to-treat ovarian and pancreatic tumors.

The growing body of research raises the possibility that it might not be necessary to invent new medications to make meaningful progress against cancer. “If we just take the drugs we have and combine them in the right way, I think there is huge potential” for beating more cancers into remission, said Dr. Patrick Hwu of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

If early successes pan out in animal experiments and dozens of clinical trials now underway, patients would have more options and a better chance at a true cure. Another plus: radiation and generic chemotherapy are relatively cheap compared with new immuno-oncology medicines.

Tumors disable the immune system’s killer T cells, which can find and destroy certain cancer cells. Immunotherapy drugs work by preventing tumors from using this devious tactic. But if no T cells are swarming the tumor in the first place, the drugs don’t help. It’s like playing the San Antonio Spurs with NBA defensive player of the year Kawhi Leonard sitting on the bench, but then not getting your own players past midcourt.

The trick, therefore, is to turn “cold” tumors that T cells ignore into “hot” tumors that attract T cells. Or, at the risk of torturing the metaphor, to get those T cells past midcourt. “If the T cells don’t exist, the question is, how do you make them exist?” said Hwu.

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