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Qld cancer research to improve survival

AAP logoAAP 5/12/2016 Stuart Layt

Queensland researchers believe a simple change in how cancer patients are treated could drastically improve their survival rates.

Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research found while the accepted method for treating aggressive cancers is to operate and then use immunotherapy, simply reversing the order can improve survival rates dramatically.

Lead researcher Dr Michele Teng said in their trials on mice, between 40 to 60 per cent were cured by using immunotherapy before surgery.

"Immunotherapies have shown efficacy against 15 different cancer types, including in triple negative breast cancer," Dr Teng said.

The research is now being used as the basis for a series of human clinical trials in other countries.

"Because of our findings they've started clinical trials against breast cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer as well as melanoma, where they're looking at giving immunotherapy first followed by surgery," Dr Teng said.

Immunotherapy treatment differs from chemotherapy in that it uses drugs to activate the patient's own immune system to help fight the cancer.

The research has been published on Tuesday in the journal Cancer Discovery.

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