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Promising advance in breast cancer research


VCU Massey Cancer Center to develop human study

Two new drugs, when combined, killed up to 75 percent of breast cancer tumor cells in mice and suppressed the regrowth of tumors, according to researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.

The findings, published online Nov. 14 in the journal Cancer Biology and Therapy, may also have implications for prostate cancer, lymphoma, myeloma and other hematologic cancers.

Paul Dent, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and radiation oncology, led the team. This new study translates its 2002 research that showed early success in the lab and more recently was tested in animals.

In this new study, researchers combined two novel drugs, UCN-01 and a MEK 1/2 inhibitor, which are known to inhibit protein kinases, part of tumor survival signaling pathways.

"In addition to potently inhibiting cells and suppressing tumor growth, these drugs are also part of a modern class of drugs that are less toxic to non-cancerous cells," said Dent. "We are eager to move these exciting findings from the labs to patients."

When studied separately, the drugs only killed a small percent of the cells to which they were exposed. Combined, however, the result was quite startling.

"Within five days, we saw profound tumor cell death," Dent said. "Three researchers in the group operated the same studies independently, and they all saw very similar results."

Andrea Butler | EurekAlert!
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