May 5, 2015

We previously talked about synergy and how the combination of cancer treatments is a promising area of study in our industry. Like combination drug treatments and personalized medicine, Immuno-oncology is another tool for this toolbox—it aims to bring in the body’s own immune response into the treatment mix.

What is Immuno-oncology?
Immuno-oncology includes therapies that use the body’s own immune system to combat cancer cells. After all, this is what the body’s immune system is meant to do—attack intruders; although without some help, it doesn’t always succeed. Cancer can win by fooling the immune system by disguising itself as normal cells or continuing to mutate so that it stays a step ahead of the body’s immune response. Other times, cancers simply grow too quickly for the body’s immune response to keep up.

With Immuno-oncology treatments, the aim is to activate the body’s natural immune system and help it find and target disguised or mutated cancer cells. According to the European Cancer Patient Coalition, evidence from clinical trials suggests the effects of immuno-oncology therapies effects on cancer cells may last for a long time, training the immune system to fight against cancer cells even after remission.

Reovirus and the immune system
At a recent Royal Society of Medicine conference, our Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Matt Coffey presented“REOLYSIN® and Immune Therapy: Rationale for Combination Therapy” which touches on how REOLYSIN aims to use the body’s immune response fight tumours. Specifically, REOLYSIN® modulates “natural killer” (NK) cell activity in vivo and suggests that this may contribute to the therapeutic effect of the virus. This means that REOLYSIN® may actively enhance the ability of the immune system to target and kill tumour cells.

If you’d like to learn more about Immuno-oncology, here are some resources: