Is adaptive therapy natural?
Less aggressive assaults on tumours may help keep cancer cells in check without promoting the development of drug resistance.
The strategy, termed natural adaptive therapy, is modelled after the body’s own immune systems for retarding the evolution of life-threatening cancer cells. As outlined by a team co-led by scientists from Deakin University, the approach aims to enhance patient survival and quality of life by restraining tumour growth, rather than trying for all-out eradication and inadvertently accelerating the proliferation of resistant cells.
Developed through mathematical models natural adaptive therapy and computer simulations — and then validated experimentally in mouse models — natural adaptive therapy has been shown to work in men with prostate cancer. More trials are underway or planned for patients with other kinds of tumours.
The researchers highlight the promise of marrying natural adaptive principles with the latest immunotherapy drugs that have radically altered the cancer treatment landscape.
- PLoS Biology 16, e2007066 (2018). doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2007066