If you saw our highlights from last year, you might notice that one theme throughout our research was “Synergy”, also known as Combination Therapy. You’re probably familiar with traditional combination therapies, like surgery with chemotherapy or radiation. Did you know that synergies between different drugs are also being studied to help produce more effective treatment results?

Combination drug therapy is an important area of study because many tumours do not have a uniform genetic profile. For example, if a patient’s cancer comes back after a remission, it could be because a few cells had mutations that made them resistant to the initial treatment. However, when a patient receives a combination, or “cocktail,” of drugs, each with a different mode of action, the likelihood of being able to get rid of the entire tumour is much greater.

How does it work?
By combining therapies, oncologists aim to stay one step ahead of the cancer, attacking the cancer cells through different mechanisms of action from the start. By disrupting as many types of cancer cells as possible, this synergistic therapy can quickly attack the most or all of the cancer, ideally preventing it from spreading to other areas of the body. In addition, with combination therapy, any further mutations that do occur need to be resistant to multiple forms of attack.

Synergy and Personalized Medicine
Personalized medicine is also beginning to play more of a role in combination therapy. Since speed is important to preventing resistance, by identifying biomarkers, oncologists can more accurately predict which patients are most likely to benefit from specific treatment options. This way, the treatments most likely to be effective can be administered first, before the cancer mutates and becomes more difficult to treat. You’ll notice the use of biomarkers in some of our research, such as the PD-L1 protein.

Key Findings
Our research identified the following key points regarding REOLYSIN® and combination therapy:

  • REOLYSIN® is synergistic with cytotoxic compounds or radiotherapy (RT), both of which promote delivery to the interior of a tumor, viral protein translation, and apoptosis of tumor cells.
  • REOLYSIN® upregulates PD-L1 on the surface of breast, kidney and lung cell lines.
  • The combination of REOLYSIN® and sunitinib further enhances the expression of PD-L1 in breast and lung cancer cell lines. This combination increases cell killing in breast and lung cancer cell lines.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, read more about our findings here: