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Study Suggests Aligning Treatment With Body Clock Boosts Cancer-Fighting Power

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Scientists have found that timing cancer treatment based on a patient’s body clock may improve the effectiveness of the treatment. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the body’s natural 24-hour cycle affects the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. The researchers also found that disrupting the circadian rhythm reduced the immune system’s ability to tackle cancer. These findings suggest that both lifestyle changes and treatment times could be helpful in fighting cancer.

The study, published online in the journal Nature Immunology, provides deeper insights into the intricate relationship among the circadian clock, immune regulation and tumor development and found that a therapeutic approach optimizing time-of-day delivery based on an individual’s unique circadian patterns offers new avenues for prevention and treatment.

“Disruption of the internal biological pacemaker is an inherent aspect of modern society that may contribute to the rising incidence of many cancer types. We found that proper regulation of circadian rhythms is necessary to suppress inflammation and support peak immune function,” said corresponding author Selma Masri, UC Irvine associate professor of biological chemistry. “Understanding precisely how circadian disruption promotes disease progression could lead to behavior modification to reduce cancer risk.”

“As we enhance our understanding of the fundamental mechanism of circadian regulation of immunity, we will be able to harness the power of the body’s natural rhythms to fight cancer and develop more personalized and effective treatment strategies,” said lead author Bridget Fortin, a UC Irvine doctoral student in the Department of Biological Chemistry.

While this study represents a significant step forward in defining circadian control of anti-tumor immunity, the team believes future research should focus on exploring additional factors and cell types influencing time-of-day response to checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

 Researchers from UC Irvine have discovered that aligning cancer treatment with a patient’s circadian rhythm can enhance its effectiveness.    

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