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ICR and The Royal Marsden reveal plans to ‘disrupt’ cancer ecosystems

The researchers aim to double survival for people with advanced cancer within a decade


Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust have revealed joint plans to create a new generation of treatments that target the ecosystems within the body supporting cancer.

Researchers are increasingly growing their understanding of cancer ecosystems, made up of cancer cells, the immune system and those molecules, cells and structures that surround tumours and support their growth.

The five-year strategy aims to accelerate progress for cancer patients by leveraging the latest advances in scientific knowledge and technology to direct research against the cells, signals and immune response in the tissue environment that nurtures tumours.

The researchers will also employ artificial intelligence (AI) to design new ways to combine existing treatments and smart dosing strategies, with the aim of doubling the survival of patients with advanced cancer within a decade.

“Our leading scientists and clinicians have identified cancer’s evolution within a complex ecosystem as a major challenge and opportunity for the next five years,” said Professor Kristian Helin, chief executive of The ICR, London.

She continued: “We have created a really exciting plan to unravel and disrupt cancer’s ecosystems, with new immunotherapies, drugs to target the tissue environment, and clever new anti-evolution combinations and dosing strategies.”

The ICR and The Royal Marsden have identified a series of projects as ‘fundamental' to the approach of targeting and disrupting the cancer ecosystem. This includes predicting how cancer evolves within different ecosystems, as well as revealing how different types of cells within a tumour can work together to shape their ecosystems.

Also included are projects aiming to find ways to use viruses together with radiotherapy to ‘supercharge’ the immune system, and identifying drugs that target the healthy tissue that supports tumours

Commenting on the new strategy, Dr Olivia Rossanese, director of cancer drug discovery at The ICR, London, said: “We plan to open up completely new lines of attack against cancer, so we can overcome cancer’s deadly ability to evolve and become resistant to treatment. We want to discover better targets within tumours and the wider ecosystem that we can attack with drugs.

“We’re finding powerful new ways to eradicate cancer proteins completely and discovering smarter combination treatments that attack cancer on multiple fronts. Together, this three-pronged approach can create smarter, kinder cancer treatments and offer patients a longer life with fewer side effects.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

22nd November 2022

From: Research



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