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 Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>