In light of Professor Clancy’s lecture on Monday and a question raised on Wednesday, I was interested in the potential of Adaptive Therapy as opposed to the current way in which chemotherapy is used in the US. I read a brief article that discussed the findings of an experiment utilizing adaptive therapy among other forms chemotherapy. Adaptive therapy is a means of using chemotherapy that seeks to use the lowest dose of chemotherapy possible to sustain the existing tumors. This differs from the current usage of chemotherapy in which the maximum tolerable dose is used, hoping to most affect the tumor while keeping the patient alive. In the experiment a strain of breast cancer was exposed to a few forms of chemotherapy including adaptive therapy. The particular type of tumor cells surveyed was resistant to treatment when using the maximum tolerable dose (in this case to doxorubicin). The study showed that through adaptive therapy, the growth of the tumor cells could be prevented or sustained. In simulating the results of the study on breast cancer patients, it found that through adaptive therapy there was a potential for two to three fold increase over the use of the maximum tolerable dose. Further, the survival rate increased when combined with other forms of treatment, up to ten fold in one of the populations of the experiment. The author concludes questioning whether adaptive therapy could be used to prevent metastasis of the tumor given that the existing treatments, which utilize high doses, can in some cases drastically reduce the initial size. However, given that with increased chemoresistence the chances of metastasis increase, the author conjectures that if adaptive therapy were to be used with a chemo sensitive tumor, it may not promote metastasis.
Johanning, Gary L. "Chemotherapy: Too Much of a Good Thing." Chemotherapy: Open Access 1.5 (2012)