Skip to comments.Small-molecule drug drives cancer cells to suicide
Posted on 02/07/2013 2:12:52 PM PST by neverdem
Studies in mice show therapy is effective even in hard-to-treat brain tumours.
Cancer researchers have pinned down a molecule that can kick-start the bodys own tumour-destroying systems, triggering cell death in cancerous but not healthy tissue in mice.
The molecule, TIC10, activates the gene for a protein called TRAIL (tumour-necrosis-factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), which has long been a target for cancer researchers looking for drugs that would avoid the debilitating effects of conventional therapies.
TRAIL is a part of our immune system: all of us with functional immune systems use this molecule to keep tumours from forming or spreading, so boosting this will not be as toxic as chemotherapy, says Wafik El-Deiry, an oncologist at Pennsylvania State University in Hershey and lead author of the study, which is published today in Science Translational Medicine1.
Experiments showed that TIC10 had potent effects against a variety of tumours, including breast, lymphatic, colon and lung cancer. It was especially effective at triggering cell suicide in glioblastoma, a kind of brain tumour that is notoriously difficult to treat2. Mice with glioblastomas that were treated with TIC10 and bevacizumab a drug used against diseases including brain tumours, and sold under the name Avastin survived three times as long as untreated mice. However, they survived only 6% longer than mice treated with bevacizumab alone.
Quick and collaborative
El-Deiry says that TIC10 is so effective because it is much smaller than proteins that have previously been tested as TRAIL-based drugs. The molecule is so compact that it can cross the bloodbrain barrier, which separates the main circulatory system from the brain...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Death is relentless. If it can’t get you with cancer, it will with something else.
This is a great day for mice everywhere. Aliens would surely wonder why we dedicate so much of our time and treasure to curing the ills of mice.
Sorry, couldn’t help myself. This is a great discovery. Cancer takes too many young lives.
The problem is, the last time a common genetic ancestor we share with mice was alive, dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Like a lot of promising starts (Interferon comes to mind) it remains to be seen where this goes...
Thus a molecule that binds to the XYZ receptor in mice is very likely to bind to the XYZ receptor in rats and dogs and humans - be metabolized by the same enzymes into the same products, etc.
And all of this is checked before the therapeutic goes into humans. Does it bind to the human version of the target? Do the metabolites produced in model species correspond to those that would be produced in humans (using human liver cells), etc.
People wonder why monkeys are used in drug trials - because they are much more likely to be a relevant model.
But it is amazing that there is so much similarity in the active working parts of proteins between mice and humans that they are useful at all!
Cancer nearly wiped out my family. We started as Mom, Dad and four kids. As of today we have three deaths, two "survivors" and my sister who never contracted the disease. I've always wondered if my folks found her on the front porch in a wicker basket...
PS My cancer was diagnosed at age 53, the same age my dad achieved before he succumbed to cancer, that is guaranteed to rock your world
How to make cancer cells commit suicide?
Show them the health care bill....