Combining Radiotherapy and Drugs for Tailor Made Results

Radiotherapy has been around for decades yet is constantly being developed so patients can get the most out of it. The aim of the research by University of Glasgow and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is to look at how precise radiation, combined with targeted drugs can help destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected and ensure side effects are kept to a minimum.

Professor Kevin Harrington, Joint head of ICR, explains: “The idea is that the radiation triggers DNA damage, the tumour relies on a specific pathway to fix that DNA damage and you come in with a drug that blocks that pathway,” says Harrington. “Normal cells have other backup pathways they can use to get around the drug whereas the tumour is absolutely addicted to this pathway, and you’ve blocked it with a drug.”

These drugs are currently being tested in clinical trials on a wide range of tumour sites. Tailoring medicine and testing tumour site bio-markers is one way of analysing whether patients will positively react to the addition of drugs to their radiotherapy.

To read more about how radiotherapy can work with other drugs and immunotherapy please visit Cancer Research UK.   The article has a particularly good diagram to illustrate the research.