Scientists have unveiled a promising method to tackle hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common liver cancer type and a major global cause of cancer-related deaths. The Centenary Institute led a groundbreaking study that introduced an exciting treatment approach involving a novel drug, Blockmir CD5-2, combined with an anti-PD1 antibody. This combination demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in reducing liver tumor size in mice, as reported in Frontiers in Immunology.
Dr. Ken Liu, the lead author, described the discovery as highly promising for advanced liver cancer treatment. The combined action of Blockmir CD5-2 and the anti-PD1 antibody significantly shrank liver tumors in the study’s mice subjects. This approach appears to enhance the immune system’s ability to combat cancer by addressing the immune-suppressive environment found in liver tumors.
Liver tumors often exhibit abnormal blood vessels and low oxygen levels, which hinder the immune system’s response to cancer. Blockmir CD5-2 tackles this problem by promoting the health of tumor blood vessels through VE-Cadherin protein activation. This leads to improved blood supply and oxygen levels within tumors, facilitating the infiltration of cancer-targeting immune cells, particularly cytotoxic T cells, to effectively combat the disease.
The use of the anti-PD1 antibody is a crucial element in this innovative treatment approach. It helps the immune system combat cancer more effectively by blocking a protein that hampers the immune response.
Senior study authors, Professor Jennifer Gamble and Professor Geoff McCaughan, emphasized that current liver cancer treatment options are limited, making this new therapeutic approach incredibly promising for addressing this challenging disease.
Source: Centenary Institute