Scientists discover a way to kill off tumors in cancer treatment breakthrough

Apr 05, 2011

Scientists from the School of Pharmacy at Queen's University Belfast and Almac Discovery Ltd have developed a new treatment for cancer which rather than attacking tumours directly, prevents the growth of new blood vessels in tumours, starving them of oxygen and nutrients, thereby preventing their growth.

Targeting tumour is not a new concept, however, this drug attacks the blood vessels using an entirely different pathway and therefore could be useful for treating tumours which don't respond to or which are resistant to current therapies of this type.

Professor Tracy Robson and her research team at Queen's, in collaboration with researchers at Almac Discovery, developed a new drug to disrupt the tumour blood supply. They have demonstrated that this leads to highly effective inhibition of tumour growth in a number of models as reported this month in , a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Almac Discovery is developing the and expects to start clinical trials within the next year.

Professor Tracy Robson from the School of Pharmacy at Queen's explains: "By understanding the anti-angiogenic potential of the natural protein, FKBPL, we have been able to develop small peptide-based drugs that could be delivered to prevent tumour growth by cutting off their blood supply. This is highly effective in models of prostate and .

"However, this also has the potential for the treatment of any solid tumour and we're excited about continuing to work with Almac Discovery as this drug enters clinical trials."

Dr Stephen Barr, President and Managing Director of Almac Discovery said: "This is a first class example of a collaboration between a university and industry to produce a novel approach to that has a real chance of helping patients".

The Almac Discovery / Queen's University drug is currently undergoing preclinical development and may provide a first-in-class therapy for targeting tumour angiogenesis by an entirely different pathway to those agents currently approved.

Explore further: Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

Related Stories

More blood vessels in hormone-resistant prostate tumors

Dec 15, 2009

Patients with advanced prostate cancer are often treated with hormones, but when the tumours start growing again they have more and different blood vessels, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University ...

Innovative method to starve tumors

Feb 11, 2009

The development of cancerous tumours is highly dependent on the nutrients the tumours receive through the blood. The team of Dr. Janusz Rak, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) at the Montreal ...

A new cancer vaccine starves tumors of blood

May 24, 2010

A DNA-vaccine that restricts the supply of blood to tumours has been developed by scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. The vaccine slows the growth of breast cancer tumours in mice.

Socking it to cancer

Aug 02, 2006

An Australian research team has identified a gene that could be used to stop tumours growing by blocking their blood supply.

Scientists develop new drug to outflank cancer resistance

Dec 11, 2007

A new drug has shown promising results against breast and prostate cancer cells and tumours that are resistant to conventional hormone-based treatments, according to research published in the British Journal of ...

Recommended for you

Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

18 hours ago

It has been treasured by food lovers for thousands of years for its rich golden colour, peppery flavour and mustardy aroma…and now turmeric may also have a role in fighting cancer.

Cancer survivors who smoke perceive less risk from tobacco

Jul 02, 2015

Cancer survivors who smoke report fewer negative opinions about smoking, have more barriers to quitting, and are around other smokers more often than survivors who had quit before or after their diagnosis, according to a ...

Melanoma mutation rewires cell metabolism

Jul 02, 2015

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

User comments : 7

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 05, 2011
But cutting the blood supply from the tissue where the cancer grows, you are killing, first of all, the fibroblasts, not the cancer cells, so you're killing the patient body that way. There was a story on this website short time ago.
not rated yet Apr 05, 2011
By cutting off the blood supply the tumour would die as well would it not? But it does sound like it only reduces the blood flow to the tomour.

They have demonstrated that this leads to highly effective inhibition of tumour growth in a number of models

5 / 5 (1) Apr 05, 2011
Every day we're closer to extermination of cancer

Good news
not rated yet Apr 05, 2011
I take it that this drug would be administered directly to the cancerous tissue? Or is the drug a targeted molecule to the cancerous tissue?
not rated yet Apr 06, 2011
By cutting off the blood flow, or antiangiogenic therapy you essentially cut the nutrients off to the cancerous growth. Kind of like cutting the roots off a plant. Yes, you will kill existing parts of the body that aren't considered cancerous but in very small amounts; furthermore, the alternatives such as chemotherapy or radiation also kill areas of the body in which aren't cancerous. The anti-angiogenic therapy is a far less detrimental way of handling treatment in my opinion.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2011
Plenty of misunderstanding here... Tumors don't spread or grow if they're unable to grow, so angiogenesis (creation of NEW blood vessels) is critical in cancers metastasizing. This drug aims to prevent creation of new blood vessels, so it's a great treatment for anyone who isn't recovering from serious injuries or actively growing. It should not kill of any of the surrounding tissue.
not rated yet Apr 16, 2011
qwargh, argue with this news
"...the researchers say their new theory of stromal metabolic re-programming suggests that cancer cells do not need blood vessels to feed them, which explains why some angiogensis inhibitors (drugs that shut down blood vessel growth) have not worked - and, in fact, may be dangerous."

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.