Louisiana [US], May 9 (ANI): According to new research, scientists are working to improve immune checkpoint inhibitors to better target tumours and reduce their impact on healthy tissues.
The findings of the research were published in the journal 'Cancer Cell' by Johnson, the lead author of the study with Adi Diab, MD and Yared Hailemichael, PhD.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment of many cancers by using our body's immune system to kill cancer. These treatments sometimes can cause our immune system to fight healthy tissue instead, resulting in side effects.
A frequent adverse effect of immune checkpoint inhibitors is colitis or inflammation in the colon. When studying patients receiving these immune checkpoint inhibitors, researchers at MD Anderson and Ochsner Health have uncovered that a particular cytokine, or protein that activates certain immune cells, is expressed at higher levels in colitis tissue than in cancer tissue shrinking from these treatments.
They also showed that by blocking this cytokine in lab models, the immune system's ability to fight cancer improves as side effects lessen.
Daniel Johnson, MD, a medical oncologist at Ochsner Health, is the lead author of the study that identifies interleukin-6 (IL-6) as a potential target in refining immunotherapies.
"This study shows that blocking IL-6 could de-couple autoimmunity from antitumor immunity," said Johnson, who began the research during a fellowship at MD Anderson and has continued it at Ochsner.
"By targeting this particular cytokine in patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat cancer, we could potentially improve immune responses in cancer while lowering the risk of inflammation in healthy tissue." (ANI)