Researchers from the University of Southampton are providing hope for patients with Leukaemia.
Using our own immune systems, they are hoping to cause tumour death in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, the most common form of leukaemia in the UK.
The researchers, lead by Professor Mark Cragg at Southampton General Hospital, have used blood cells from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) to find out how drugs called B-cell receptor (BCR) inhibitors work.
These B-cell receptor inhibitors have long been used in the treatment of CLL, but until now it was not known exactly how they worked.
The research carried out by Prof Cragg and his team has shed a light on the mechanisms one of these drugs called idelalisib.
Prof Cragg has discovered that the BCR inhibitors disrupt the signals that are vital for the survival of cancer cells, as well as preventing the tumour cells from communicating with their neighbour cells. Without these signals, the cancerous cells are no longer able to maintain their growth and instead die.
Their results also showed that combination of idelalisib with antibody treatment leads to more effective treatment of cancer and longer lasting protection.
With the help of these findings, better, more effective combination treatments can be developed to improve the prognosis for patients with CLL.