Live from AACR. Can two powerful weapons against cancer be even better as a team? Our expert panel discusses the future of combination therapies

The more we learn about the mechanism or mechanisms that lead to cancer the better have become at attacking it. Non-specific chemotherapy agents have given way to more targeted therapies that stop tumor growth by targeting specific genes or proteins found in cancer cells that enable it to proliferate. However, while many patients respond favorably at first, tumors frequently acquire resistance to the drugs.

Immunotherapies represent the latest wave of cancer drugs. While they are much more durable than targeted therapies, they only work in a small percentage of patients.

So it seems like a no-brainer. Combiner targeted and immunotherapies to achieve more long-lasting responses in greater numbers of patients?

If only it were that easy. Many researchers have designed trials in humans and in animals to test this strategy, and while there is early evidence in some cancers for potential synergy between targeted and immunotherapies, there are also downsides to the approach, there are concerns over added toxicity and whether these two powerful strategies could potentially clash with one another.

A panel moderated by Aidan Synnott, PhD, Executive Director of Discovery Oncology, considered these questions against the backdrop of the annual American Association of Cancer Research meeting in Washington, DC this week, combination therapies were a popular theme. Synnott was joined by Dr. Dejan Juric, Director of Translational Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Jennifer King PhD, Director of Science & Research at the Lung Cancer Allianc

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