Increasing Number of Added NK Cells Boosts Effectiveness of Combined Cell Therapy & Virotherapy for Treating Cancer

Doctors could be a step closer to finding the most effective way to treat cancer with a double whammy of a virus combined with boosting the natural immune system, according to a pioneering study by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and The Ohio State University. "The findings of this research are very exciting because it helps unravel the complex yin and yang relationship between the natural cancer-fighting power intrinsic to our immune system and externally added cancer-killing cells that are given as a therapy. It's very significant because it shows, contrary to recent scientific claims, that virotherapy can be combined with cell therapy for a positive effect," said the study's corresponding author Balveen Kaur, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. Previous scientific wisdom has discredited combining virotherapy and externally added natural killer (NK) cell therapy to the body's NK cells, but there could be clear cancer-fighting benefits – if sufficient external NK cells are deployed to destroy the tumor and stop its spread, as revealed in the paper that was published online on April 23, 2018 in PNAS. The article is titled “Complex Role of NK Cells in Regulation of Oncolytic Virus–Bortezomib Therapy.” To reach this conclusion, physicians devised a mathematical formula unlocking the complex interactive relationship between externally introduced viruses and NK cells in addition to the immune system's existing NK cells to calculate cancer cell-killing potency. The mathematical modeling was able to predict how a virus-treated tumor would respond to NK cell therapy, depending on the number of NK cells introduced to the tumor.
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