A novel approach to pancreatic cancer treatment that activates the immune system works in some patients, according to a new study.
The treatment works by destroying the ”scaffolding” around cancer cells, says researcher Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, an associate professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania.
“The therapy is an antibody,” he says. ”Instead of binding to the cancer, this antibody binds to a molecule in the immune system, and that is CD40,” he tells WebMD. Next, the immune system is activated, allowing it to attack the so-called scaffolding around the cancer cells. The scaffolding is destroyed and the tumor falls apart.
The process is somewhat like attacking a brick wall by dissolving the mortar in the wall, he says.