For treating cancer, the deadly disease, several treatments come in the way such as chemotherapy, radiation, and now immunotherapy. Checkpoint inhibitors, a class of cancer immunotherapy agents, mostly antibodies, revive immune cell activities to suppress the cancer cells.
Recently, scientists are not focusing on boosting the immune cells through vastly available “small molecules”. However, they are aiming at finding a platform to screen thousands of drugs to sort this fatal disease.
Researchers Putting Efforts to Discover More Precise Cancer Immunotherapy Drugs
A report published in Cell Chemical Biology demonstrates that IAP antagonists, a class of drugs is already under clinical trials. Although, FDA-approved checkpoint inhibitors induce several types of cancer treatments, however, finding drugs that reduces other immune responses increase efficacy.
Researchers are putting efforts in discovering cancer immunotherapy drugs targeting on regulatory molecules outside of the cells. Haian Fu, chair of the department of Chemical Biology at Emory University, with his colleagues invented a system, named as HTiP. This system helps in testing compounds enhancing the ability of immune cells to suppress the growth of cancer cells.
With the help of High-Throughput Immunomodulator Phenotypic Screening Platform, researchers have screened 2,000 known compounds, to isolate the drug birinapant. Birinapant, a part of IAP antigonists, enhanced immune cell activity against cancer cells, showed positive result for anticancer activity.
Although, this screening platform is highly agnostic to the mechanism of immunosuppression. Nonetheless, this platform can use a combination of immune cell types and can test the effects of oncogenic mutations. National Cancer Institute is supporting the researchers for expanding their screening efforts in order to discover more potential anticancer drugs.