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Two Prostate Cancer Breakthroughs May Lead to Better Treatments – Mushroom Extract Aids Chemotherapy and Scientists are Learning Why Cancer Does Not Die

August 1st 2006

Two Prostate Cancer Breakthroughs May Lead to Better Treatments – Mushroom Extract Aids Chemotherapy and Scientists are Learning Why Cancer Does Not Die

Cancer Cells

Two important findings may help doctors treat cancer.  The first comes from Boston where scientists say that extracts from a mushroom can boost the power of a leading chemotherapy drug used for prostate cancer.  The mushrooms are the same ones used by East Asians for medicine for centuries.

Dr. Chang-Yan Chen said “This species of mushroom has been reported to have some degree of activity in cancer patients. Our aim was to study what effect, if any, extracts of Phellinus linteus have, but we also need to know precisely how it produces these effects.”  Chen is the lead researcher and a doctor at the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts.

When the researchers added the mushroom to the drug doxorubicin in the laboratory, it was able to kill cancer cells better.  The combination was just as effective as larger doses of the drug alone.

 

The second finding involves the reason why prostate cancer cells are able to resist hormone treatments.  Dr. George Kulik said "We hope this will lead to new treatments or ways to monitor treatment to make sure it's having its intended effect."  Kulik is the assistant professor of cancer biology and senior researcher at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Some prostate cancer cells become resistant to treatments that lowers levels of testosterone.  “The normal response of prostate cells when male hormones are blocked is cell death,” said Kulik. “The cancer cells find a way to resist the treatment and we wanted to discover the mechanism.”

The researchers were interested in three pathways in cell signaling. The goal of the researchers was to learn how these pathways are involved in the cancer cells resisting death. They found that all three signaling pathways work by inactivating a protein known as BAD that causes cell death.

 

Cancer cells are able to avoid cell death.  Apparently all three pathways are capable of inactivating BAD, which means that prostate cancer cells have three redundant survival mechanisms. 

The next step is to develop drugs that prevent BAD from being inhibited.  “If our finding is confirmed in animals and in human tumors, there are important implications for therapy,” according to Kulik.

 
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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:51 PM