Tags: Cancer | oxygen | therapy | cancer | breakthrough

Oxygen Therapy Is Cancer 'Breakthrough'

By    |   Thursday, 05 March 2015 04:26 PM

Northeastern University immunologists have found that a new therapy that floods tumors with supplemental oxygenation can shrink them and dramatically improve the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy.

The findings — published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, founded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science — are being hailed as potential “breakthrough” that could dramatically increase the survival rate of patients with cancer, which kills some 8 million people each year.
 
"This discovery shifts the paradigm of decades-long drug development, a process with a low success rate," said lead researcher Michail Sitkovsky, an immunophysiology expert at Northeastern. "Indeed, it is promising that our method could be implemented relatively quickly by testing in clinical trials the effects of oxygenation in combination with different types of already existing immunotherapies of cancer."
 
Sitkovsky and his colleagues found shows that inhaling air that is 40-60 percent oxygen — two to three times the concentration in the air we breathe — helps arm and “awaken T cells” in the body’s immune systems, making them more effective in destroying tumor cells. Oxygenation also weakens tumor cells’ ability to outwit the body’s natural defenses.
 
The research caps 30 years of work, involving a dozen doctors and researchers at some of the country's most prestigious universities, hospitals, and medical schools, including Northeastern University's Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where Sitkovsy holds an appointment as a presidential scholar.
 
"Breathing supplemental oxygen opens up the gates of the tumor fortress and wakes up 'sleepy' anti-tumor cells, enabling these soldiers to enter the fortress and destroy it," Sitkovsy explained. "However, if anti-tumor immune cells are not present, oxygen will have no impact."
 
Sitkovsky said the effects of supplemental oxygenation might be even stronger in combination with a synthetic agent that he calls "super-caffeine," which blocks the tumor-protecting effects of cancer cells.
 
"The anti-tumor effects of supplemental oxygen can be further improved by the natural antagonist [tumor-suppressing cell activity], which happens to be the caffeine in your coffee," Sitkovsky said.

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A new immunotherapy that floods tumors with supplemental oxygenation has been shown to shrink them and dramatically improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments.
oxygen, therapy, cancer, breakthrough
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2015-26-05
Thursday, 05 March 2015 04:26 PM
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