New cancer treatment targets both tumor cells and blood vessels

Jun 18, 2008

[B]MU researchers develop nontoxic treatment that has broad anti-cancer potential[/B]
It takes more than one punch to fight tumors. Often, tumors have more than one way of surviving, and attacking the tumor alone is not enough. Now, in a new study, University of Missouri researchers have developed a new non-toxic treatment that effectively reduces breast cancer cells, by combining a small molecular drug that targets tumor cells with an antibody that causes selective shutdown of tumor blood vessels.

In 50 percent of breast cancer cases, a mutated protein, known as p53, is present. Previous research has indicated that when p53 is functionally abnormal, tumor cells are prolific and develop quickly. PRIMA-1, a small molecular drug, targets and returns normal function to the mutated p53, but PRIMA-1 alone is not enough to stop tumor growth. Proliferating blood vessels supply oxygen and other nutrients that the tumor needs to grow. However, a specific antibody, 2aG4, has the ability to destroy these blood vessels and prevent future growth. According to the MU research team, no one has previously tried to attack tumor cells by targeting mutated p53 and the tumor-associated blood vessels with this combination of PRIMA-1 and 2aG4.

"Tumors are entities that want to live," said Salman Hyder, professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. "They adapt under conditions that would cause anything else to die. In order to effectively treat tumors, treatments must attack the breast tumor cells and the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tumor. Treatment strategies in our study that targeted both areas resulted in improved and more potent responses."

In the pre-clinical trials, mice bearing tumors of human origin were given the drug combination to combat tumor growth. After four weeks of treatment, the mice that were given the combination showed a dramatic decrease in the development of tumors and had better results than the mice that were given only one of the compounds. In addition, the treatment combination proved to be non-toxic as the mice maintained their body weight and displayed few side effects.

"Mutated p53 in tumor cells plays a key role in promoting tumor cell survival and tumor cell resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. The mutated protein is found in 50 percent of breast cancer cases," Hyder said. "The results of this study are very promising and show the possibility of broad anti-cancer potential."

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Scientists lead consensus guidelines for thyroid cancer molecular tests

Related Stories

Automated counting of tumor cells in blood

May 04, 2015

Biological and medical scientists have been using flow cytometry to count cancer cells for the past 40 years. But the large instruments are expensive and can only be operated by trained personnel. By contrast ...

Device extracts rare tumor cells using sound

Apr 06, 2015

A simple blood test may one day replace invasive biopsies thanks to a new device that uses sound waves to separate blood-borne cancer cells from white blood cells.

Recommended for you

Mammography benefits overestimated, review says

2 hours ago

An in-depth review of randomised trials on screening for breast, colorectal, cervical, prostate and lung cancers, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, shows that the benefits of mammographic screening are li ...

Extended-field IMRT does not increase duodenal toxicity risk

4 hours ago

A study of women with cervical or endometrial cancer who require treatment to the para-aortic (PA) lymph nodes can safely receive extended-field intensity modulated radiation therapy (EF-IMRT) without increased risk of duodenal ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.