According to researchers at Image Guided Cancer Specialists, cryoablation can efficiently treat several types of cancer, destroying tumors from the inside out and resulting in minimal scarring. Importantly, when this technique is combined with specific anti-tumoral drugs, it can help stimulate a patient’s immune system to recognize and kill any remaining tumor cells, preventing tumor recurrence.
“Immuno-oncology is a promising new area of cancer treatment, and we’re excited to be at the leading edge of such developments,” lead radiologist Dr. Jason R. Williams said in a news release. “Cryoablation, our specialized and targeted approach to destroying tumors, leaves behind a mass of dead cells, which can encourage the immune system to see those cells as threatening. By adding immune-modulating drugs to our treatment protocol, we’re ramping up that effect and increasing the power of the body’s own defenses.”
Cryoablation utilizes a specially designed probe that freezes the tumor without causing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Importantly, due to the fact that the most important variable for a successful cryoablation is the exact placement of the probe, it relies on noninvasive imaging technology to determine the probe’s precise target. Specialists are assessing different ablation techniques and their effect on anti-cancer immune responses. “Not all ablation techniques are equal, when it comes to immune response,” noted Dr. Williams.
After cryoablation, the administration of specific immunotherapeutics, such as Yervoy and Keytruda (CTLA-4 and PD-1 inhibitors, respectively), activates the patient’s immune system to clear tumor cells. Both of these drugs have been approved for metastatic and non-operable melanoma, and are both monoclonal antibodies that have the potential to modify immune system responses in the fight against cancer.
“We have to change the way we think of treating cancer and generating tumor vaccines,” added Dr. Williams. “What we’re doing marks the beginning of a paradigm shift. The direct injection of drugs into tumors helps kick start the immune response right where it’s needed most.”