Researchers believe that breathing 40 to 60% more oxygen, compared to the normal 21% of oxygen we get from breathing air, can weaken the immunosuppresion and stimulate tumour-fighting cells.
The scientists say that the studies took 30 years and could help increase the survival rate of people who suffer from cancer.
Michail Sitkovsky, an expert in immunophysiology at Northeastern University in Boston, has found that extra oxygenation helps inhibit the accumulation of adenosine in the tumors that is driven by hypoxia. This has been known to weaken the immunosuppresion.
The oxygen therapy could improve the patient’s cancer immunotherapy and shrink the tumor by releasing T lymphocytes that fight against cancerous tumors.
Sitkovsky explained that breathing an extra oxygen intake can wake up anti-tumor cells which fight against cancer.
Previous studies conducted by Sitkovsky in the 2000s found that the A2A adenosine receptor can prevent T cells from attacking and invading the tumors.
His recent study suggests that supplemental oxygen intake can weaken the signaling that protects the tumor using the A2A adenosine receptor and can wake up the T cells that are responsible for fighting lung cancer tumors.
Sitkovsky explained that the effects of extra oxygenation could be even more efficient if combined with a synthetic compound he calls “super caffeine”. This is known to block the effects to the adenosine receptor.
Sitkovsky is collaborating with Graham Jones, professor and chair of Northeastern’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, in developing a next generation drug, which was meant originally for patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.
Sitkovsky explained that the cancer-fighting effects of supplemental oxygen therapy can be improved if combined with the A2A adenosine receptor, which is another name for the caffeine found in coffee.
Susanna Greer, director of clinical research and immunology at the American Cancer Society, said that the next step of the study is to apply the oxygen therapy on humans.
The findings of the new cancer study were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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