A pill which boosts the body's natural defences could help fight off all cancers and stop them ever returning, scientists believe.
'Delta-inhibitors' were already known to help leukemia patients, but researchers were amazed to find they also work on a whole range of other cancers.
The drugs, which are taken orally as a pill, were so successful in leukaemia trials that the control group, who were taking placebos, were immediately switched to the medication on ethical grounds.
Now, scientists at UCL and Cambridge University have discovered that the same 'delta inhibitors' are also effective against lung, pancreatic, skin and breast cancers, and probably many more.
Cancer suppresses the immune system by producing an enzyme called 'p100delta' which tells it to power down, making it difficult for the body to fight the disease. The drugs 'inhibit' that enzyme, allowing the immune system to attack tumor cells.
The added benefit is that once the body has learned to fight off the cancer, it has in-built immunity, so that the disease can never return, unlike if it had been killed by chemotherapy.
Although the study was conducted in mice, researchers are confident it would work in humans and are hopeful that human trials will begin soon.
"This helps your own immune system fight off the cancer better. The good guys win. And it seems to work on all cancers," said study co-leader Professor Bart Vanhaesebroeck of the UCL Cancer Institute, who first discovered the p110 delta enzyme in 1997.
"It will work to a certain extent on its own, if the tumour is not too big, but it would be very effective after surgery, to prevent spreading.
"So it is very exciting. We have shown that blocking 'p110delta' also has the remarkable effect of boosting the body's immune response against leukemia's as well as other cancers."
Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-create-a-cancer-drug-that-helps-the-body-fight-the-disease-naturally-2014-6483