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Published on 3 August 2009

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Cancer treatment boosts therapies


A cancer treatment that significantly increases the effectiveness of radiotherapy and chemotherapy is reported in the latest edition of Cancer Research.

It does so by boosting blood vessels in tumours, which increases oxygen concentrations inside cancer cells, which in turn increases their sensitivity to both therapies.

Researchers at the Cancer Research UK-MRC Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology & Biology at Oxford University have demonstrated the technique in mice.

The drugs tested – Iressa, Nelfinavir, PI-103 and L778,123 – blocked the epidermal growth factor receptor-RAS-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-AKT pathway (EGFR-RAS-PI3K-AKT).

Institute director Professor Gillies McKenna said: “With the new understanding, strategies can be developed to use these drugs to ‘soften up’ tumour cells before treating them with radiotherapy.

“We are very excited to have uncovered this brand new approach to cancer treatment – where the drugs prime the cancer cells for radiotherapy.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Cancer Research

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