Combination immunotherapy holds promise as improved ovarian cancer treatment

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have demonstrated that mice with ovarian cancer that were treated with combination immunotherapy—receiving drugs to reactivate dormant genes along with other drugs that activate the immune system—had a greater reduction of tumor burden and significantly longer survival than those that received any of the drugs alone.

The study has already spurred a clinical trial in human patients with ovarian cancer.

The investigators—led by graduate student Meredith Stone; postdoctoral fellow Kate Chiappinelli; and senior author Cynthia Zahnow, an associate professor of oncology in the School of Medicine—believe it could lead to a new way to attack ovarian cancer by strengthening the body's natural immune response against these tumors. The findings were published online Monday in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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