Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Malaria medicine chloroquine inhibits tumor growth and metastases

12.08.2014

A recent study by investigators at VIB and KU Leuven has demonstrated that chloroquine also normalizes the abnormal blood vessels in tumors.

This blood vessel normalization results in an increased barrier function on the one hand -- thereby blocking cancer cell dissemination and metastasis -- and in enhanced tumor perfusion on the other hand, which increases the response of the tumor to chemotherapy.

The anti-cancer effect of the antimalarial agent chloroquine when combined with conventional chemotherapy has been well documented in experimental animal models. To date, it was assumed that chloroquine increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy by means of a direct effect on the cancer cells.

However, a recent study by investigators at VIB and KU Leuven has demonstrated that chloroquine also normalizes the abnormal blood vessels in tumors. This blood vessel normalization results in an increased barrier function on the one hand – thereby blocking cancer cell dissemination and metastasis– and in enhanced tumor perfusion on the other hand, which increases the response of the tumor to chemotherapy.

Chloroquine is a well-known medicine with a good safety profile that has been in use since World War 2 for the treatment of malaria and certain auto-immune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. More recently, chloroquine has also been used in anti-cancer treatment. Chloroquine blocks autophagy, a process that cancer cells use to survive to anti-cancer treatments. Therefore, blocking autophagy would reduce the resistance of the cancer cells to chemotherapy.

Normalization of abnormal tumor blood vessels

Hannelore Maes from the team of Patrizia Agostinis (KU Leuven), together with Anna Kuchnio from the team of Peter Carmeliet (VIB-KU Leuven) have started a study to explain how chloroquine can strengthen the effect of anti-cancer treatments.

"Although it is assumed that chloroquine strengthens anti-cancer treatment by blocking autophagy, there is little in vivo evidence that this is the only way in which chloroquine works. In this study, we found that chloroquine not only has an effect on the growth of the cancer cells, but also makes the tumor environment less aggressive by normalizing the abnormal blood vessels in the tumor", says Patrizia Agostinis.

Peter Carmeliet: "Blood vessel normalization results in improved tumor perfusion. This reduces the aggressive nature of the cancer cells and means that the anti-cancer medicines are better able to reach the cancer cells, which makes chemotherapy more effective. In addition, tumor blood vessel normalization also increases the barrier function of the blood vessels, which reduces the access of cancer cells to the circulation – the most important transport system for the spreading of cancer cells to other tissues. Therefore, chloroquine can nip the metastatic spreading of cancer cells in the bud, which is the most important therapeutic goal in any tumor treatment."

Disadvantages do not outweigh the benefits – the impact of this study on the use of chloroquine in anti-cancer treatment

This study forms a new rationale for the use of chloroquine in anti-cancer treatment. With a view to clinical studies (tests on humans) it is important to note that the effects on the tumor vasculature were even observed at chloroquine concentrations that had little effect on autophagy in the cancer cells. This sheds new light on the therapeutic schedule for combination therapy with chloroquine, which could result in decreased toxicity. In other words, the same "old" medicine simultaneously targets the cancer cells themselves and the blood vessels with great efficiency.

Research teams

This research was conducted by the team of Patrizia Agostinis, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, KU Leuven in collaboration with the team of Peter Carmeliet from the VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven.

Sooike Stoops | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.vb.be

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Godwits are flexible...when they get the chance
29.05.2015 | University of Groningen

nachricht Stress triggers key molecule to halt transcription of cell's genetic code
28.05.2015 | Stowers Institute for Medical Research

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lasers are the key to mastering challenges in lightweight construction

Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).

Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...

Im Focus: Solid-state photonics goes extreme ultraviolet

Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.

In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...

Im Focus: Advance in regenerative medicine

The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.

Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists precisely measure interaction between atoms and carbon surfaces

29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Godwits are flexible...when they get the chance

29.05.2015 | Life Sciences

Project start: New active substance targeting dreaded hospital pathogens

29.05.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>