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A US team developed a new type of radioimmunotherapy (RIT), which combines traditional radiation treatment and immunotherapy.They believe it has the potential to eradicate 'virtually all' types of tumors.Immunotherapy has been hailed as a potential 'game-changer' in cancer treatment that could replace chemotherapy within a few years' time, ‘waking up’ a patient’s own immune system and teaching the body to attack malignant cells.Until now, RIT has had limited success combating solid tumors, say the researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

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The team carried out their experiment on 10 mice, which are biologically very similar to humans.They aimed to target an antigen – which help cancer cells grow – called glycoprotein A33 (GPA33).This is found in more than 95 percent of primary and metastatic colorectal cancers in humans.The did this using an antibody to specifically target this harmful antigen.They also used a second antibody to work as a radioactive hapten, which are molecules that prompt an immune response when attached to antibodies – to boost the effect.

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