Scientists plot ‘extinction’ of cancers by disrupting their ecosystems

Scientists and clinicians have come together to identify cancer’s reliance on the ecosystems of our body’s cells and signals as a major opportunity in the next five years of research and treatment.

This insight opens exciting new opportunities to treat cancer, including using viruses together with radiotherapy to supercharge the immune system, drugs that target the healthy tissue that supports tumours, and AI-guided design for drug combinations and dosing strategies.

Unravelling and disrupting cancer ecosystems

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust today reveal exciting plans to unravel and disrupt cancer ecosystems – by directing research against the cells, signals and immune response in the tissue environment that nurtures tumours.

The new strategy aims to implement new approaches to target cancer – by setting up streamlined processes to prioritise potential drug targets from across the horizons of research and employing state-of-the-art technology to eradicate cancer proteins from cells.

Scientists will also employ AI to design new ways to combine drugs or cleverly adjust their dosing – with the aim of confronting cancer’s evolution within its ecosystem and increasing the length of time that people can survive with advanced cancer. Using these approaches, researchers are confident that doubling survival of people with advanced cancer within a decade is a realistic goal.