Researchers Found New Treatment Effective for Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) Cure

The new treatment blocks a signaling pathway that suppresses the immune system and keeps it from fighting tumor cells using both a targeted drug and immunotherapy.

A new study by American, Israeli, Chinese, French and German researchers finds that a targeted drug and immunotherapy in a certain sequence and within a specific time frame enhances the antitumor immunity and can lead to a completely cure of head and neck cancer (HNC). The findings were just published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

In a pre-clinical study, the researchers found a new treatment combination of Trametinib, a cancer drug that brings white blood cells to the site of the tumor and kills it, and Anti-PD-1, immunotherapy that blocks the signaling pathway.

It is important to note that is the combination of Trametinib treatment and immunotherapy that proved effective and not just one or the other.

“We’ve been able to show that if you apply the right treatment at the right time, you can achieve tumor elimination,” said Prof. Moshe Elkabets of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Not only that the sequence treatment had lead to elimination of the tumor, it also showed that the original infected body created an ‘immune memory’ which rejected a tumor that was injected to it.

This is extremely good news in regards to HNC cure.

This effective treatment was validated in four HNC cancer models, and most mice were cured with no recurrent disease. Together with Dr. Pierre Saintygn from Lyon the authors also validated some of the findings in HNC patients.

“Our unique ability to generate pre-clinical HNC models and to investigate new treatment and treatment combinations provides hope for HNC patients. We sincerely hope that oncologists will test this treatment combination in HNC patients, as improving immunotherapy efficacy is crucial for prolonging the survival of cancer patients,” Prof Elkabets said in a university statement.