Lotje Zuur, head-neck surgeon, whose team is receiving funding from KWF Dutch Cancer Society for research to prevent hearing damage in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy (cisplatin).
One of the research groups is trying to find out why 0 + 0 does not equal nothing. They recently discovered that they could inhibit cancer by administering low doses of four drugs simultaneously to cancer cells or mice – even though the individual medicines don’t have any effects when used in such low doses. Nothing and nothing seems to equal something after all.
Headed by group leader Lodewyk Wessels they will now work towards understanding how this works. This, they hope, will bring them one step closer to the application of this concept in clinical trials. Resistance is a significant problem in cancer treatment. Combining cancer drugs seems to be effective but can cause serious side effects. This low-dose combination appears to circumvent this issue of side effects.
KWF Dutch Cancer Society has awarded more than 15 million euros to projects at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (see overview below). The LORD trial by Jelle Wesseling is another one of these studies, aiming to prevent intensive treatment for women that won’t benefit from them. Women with DCIS – a potential breast cancer precursor – participating in this trial can choose between regular checkups or (standard) treatments like surgery and radiation. If the checkups turn out to be sufficient, more than a thousand women would be able to forego intensive treatment every year.