In the continued medical research for effective treatment of cancer, a team of researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of immunotherapy in mice, especially for cancers of the head and neck that often become resistant to this therapy. The therapy involved targeting an enzyme that plays a key role to slow the growth and spread of tumors significantly.
The findings of the study are published in the online edition of Molecular Cell. The findings of the study will help researchers to develop more refined methods to fight highly invasive neck and head squamous cell cancers, which mainly affect the nose, throat, and mouth.
Meanwhile, immunotherapy used as a clinical treatment for a number of types of cancers works by harnessing the natural defense of the body to combat diseases. Nonetheless, some cancers, including neck and head squamous cell cancers don’t respond well to the therapy as other types of cancers. In fact, the prognosis of head and neck cancers is poor, with the treatment lasting for a maximum of five years, which necessitates an urgent requirement for effective treatments.
The study demonstrates that targeting the vulnerability in the cellular process of tumor duplication and immunity, immunotherapy could affect the response of tumor cells to immunotherapy.
The enzyme that was studied is KDM4A – the epigenetic factor- is a molecule that controls gene expression, silences some genes in cells and activates others. Clinically, for squamous neck and head cancers, overexpression of KDM4A favors gene expression associated with replication of cancer cell and spread.
In fact, it is well understood that tumor cells carry the risk to spread undiscovered by the immune system, and without inspection can spread to lymph nodes or other body parts.