Dr. Kazukani Hayashi’s research team at Cedars-Sinai has recently shown that taking both Gemcitabine (a chemotherapy drug) and Celebrex (an anti-inflammatory drug) together triggers an immune response that increases the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug. Said drug is primarily used to combat solid tumors, such as in bladder and pancreatic cancer. The “one-two punch” in question is how the drug combo both kills cancer cells and triggers an immune response, which can help fight the stragglers. Normally, treatment is just chemotherapy/radiation, which often suppresses the immune response. Immunotherapy has been used with it recently, but it has a low response rate. The problem with the current treatment is that even though dying cancer cells release proteins (known as DAMPs) that stimulate the immune response, chemotherapeutic drugs release inhibitory signals. So, the immune cells don’t do much. So, with this new approach, a balance could be achieved in order to make treatment more effective and use the body’s immune cells combined with the drugs to help fight off cancer. The anti-inflammatory drug removes the inhibitive signals from the chemotherapy drug so that the immune system can move forward and attack the deadly cells. Adding a third drug for immunotherapy may be helpful, but for now, this first series of experiments needs to fully run its course.
For those interested, here is the more detailed article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-19970-9