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New Compound may Stop the Spread of Lung Cancer
September 2nd 2005

New Compound may Stop the Spread of Lung Cancer

Texas Researchers

Researchers at the University of Texas (UT) Southwest Medical Center have found a compound that shows promise in treating the spread of Lung Cancer.  The team used a compound called GRN163L blocks an enzyme that is known to keep cells immortal.  This enzyme has been implicated in almost all types of cancer.

"We showed for the first time that this drug can work in animals," said Dr. Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, which appears in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research.  They have determined that GRN163L works rapidly and in doses that would make for a reasonable therapy.

Dr. Shay told
Best Syndication "In advanced cancer with disseminated disease it is less likely that any anticancer drug will work as well as with earlier stage disease. I personally believe in patient with localized disease (such as stage II lung cancer, with a 50% chance of relapse within one or two years, that GRN163L would be a good choice for preventing metastasis...It very well may be that GRN163L not only affect telomeres in cancer cells but may also have another effect that we still do not fully understand."

 

GRN163L specifically matches a stretch of DNA at the end of a chromosome segment called telomere.  Normally as cells divide and age telomeres become shorter and shorter.  After the telomeres reach a certain length the cell quits dividing.

But in cancer cells the telomeres remain the same length due to an enzyme called telomerase.  The gene that creates the enzyme is active in about 85 90 % of tumors and in only a few non-cancerous cells.

These telomeres have been the target of cancer research for some time now.   Telomerase works by binding to DNA and, with a protein section, keeping the chromosome from getting shorter. GRN163L apparently prevents the telomerase from binding. 

"That suggests that this drug prevented the lung metastasis," Dr. Shay said, noting that the reactions took place at doses that would be considered reasonable for treatment. The compound might not be effective, however, in someone in whom metastasis has already begun, he said. So far the tests have been done on mice, but human trials are expected soon.

The research was partly responsible for getting the drug into clinical trials, where it will soon be tested on humans, Dr. Shay said. The trials, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are at an early stage, in which the drug is simply being tested for safety.

 

According to the American Cancer Society lung cancer kills more people than prostate cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer combined.  It is the leading cause of cancer death.  It is difficult to treat because it is usually caught after the disease has metastasizes.   The rate of lung cancer is increasing worldwide with adenocarcinoma accounting for about 40% of lung cancers. 

The work is supported by the National Cancer Institute, Geron Corp., Tubitak and the Turkey Education Foundation in Turkey.  The research is found at the University of Texas Website.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Drs. Gunnur Dikmen and Ginelle Gellert, former postdoctoral researchers in cell biology, Dr. Shalmica Jackson, postdoctoral researcher in cell biology, and Dr. Woodring Wright, professor of cell biology.

 

If you have comments or corrections or your own article please submit it.


By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Keywords and misspellings: cancer canser telomeres telemeres telomears


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:40 PM