HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessSupplement to avoid or take to boost immunotherapy and anti-cancer drugs' power

Supplement to avoid or take to boost immunotherapy and anti-cancer drugs’ power

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Dietary treatments can be effective tools since they are easy to adopt and inexpensive.

The findings of a new study demonstrate that omega-3 supplementation in the clinical context has the potential to improve immunotherapy and other anti-cancer therapies.

According to the results of a new animal study, omega-3 fatty acids may help immunotherapy and other cancer therapies work more effectively. Immunotherapies have revolutionized cancer treatment by stimulating the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, but they don’t work for everyone.

Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce cancer risk, but omega-6 fatty acids may drive cancer, according to research from multiple institutes. Omega-3s can be found in fish, nuts, and seeds, whereas omega-6s can be found in meats, eggs, and other foods.

Abigail Kelly, a research assistant at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and lead author Dipak Panigraphy wanted to see how these fatty acids supplemented diets affected the anti-tumor activity of immune checkpoint blockade immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication that inhibits the enzyme soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) in the current research. The immunotherapy has received regulatory approval and is currently being utilized in clinical trials, while the anti-inflammatory therapy is still being tested.

For the latest study, the researchers used cutting-edge mouse models of primary and metastatic cancers. They started by feeding the mice a conventional diet or a diet high in omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids for 10 days prior to tumor injection and for the remainder of the study. Mice in each diet group were given immunotherapy, anti-inflammatory medication, both therapies combination, or no treatment one week after the tumors were injected.

Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation inhibited tumor growth in mice treated with immunotherapy, an sEH inhibitor, or both therapies at the same time, according to the researchers. Mice fed a high-omega-6 diet and given immunotherapy, on the other hand, grew tumors faster in certain tumor types.

Compared to animals receiving no treatment and a normal diet, tumor development was suppressed by up to 67 percent in mice receiving the high omega-3 diet and both cancer treatments. This suggests that the overall effect could be higher than the sum of its parts, indicating synergistic anti-tumor efficacy.

“We demonstrated, for the first time, that the combination of immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory treatment (sEHi) was more effective when mice were fed diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acids,” adds Kelly. “This is very promising because dietary supplementation is easy to implement for cancer patients and can be added for patients already on immunotherapy.”

Additional study is now being conducted to investigate the mechanism of action of omega-3 supplementation’s potentially synergistic anti-tumor efficacy.

To aid in translation to cancer patients, they are doing these investigations with human cancer tissues and cells, human immune cells, and animal models.

Kelly and colleagues’ latest findings may indicate a novel therapy technique that has to be tested in humans.

Image Credit: Getty

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