Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Energy blocker may be potential liver cancer treatment

15.07.2002


A team of Johns Hopkins researchers has identified and successfully tested in animals a potential new treatment for liver cancer, a disease for which there are few effective treatments.

Writing in the July 15 issue of Cancer Research, the scientists report that only cancer cells were killed when the compound, 3-bromopyruvate, was given to rabbits with experimental liver tumors.

"It’s very exciting because we expected the compound to be pretty toxic, but somehow normal cells in the rabbit protect themselves against it," says Peter Pedersen, Ph.D., professor of biological chemistry who has spent two decades studying energy production in cells and how it relates to cancer growth. "We even injected it into a vein so it was distributed throughout the rabbit, and we still didn’t see any apparent toxicity. It’s sort of amazing."

A single injection of the compound directly into the artery that feeds the tumor killed a lot of the cancer cells, but left healthy liver alone. The researchers compared 3-bromopyruvate to a currently used treatment for human liver cancer, called chemoembolization, which delivers a dose of chemotherapy to the tumor and also blocks off the artery that feeds it.

"With 3-bromopyruvate in the rabbits, healthy liver seems to be spared, but sections of healthy liver were damaged by chemoembolization," says first author Jeff Geschwind, M.D., associate professor of radiology and director of interventional radiology. "The difference was quite dramatic."

Pedersen cautions that before 3-bromopyruvate could be tested in humans, scientists would need to learn how normal cells protect themselves, whether the compound causes long-term damage to normal tissues, and how increasing the dose affects the animals.

"We assume some level of the compound would be toxic," adds Pedersen. "Any drug can be toxic, it’s a matter of determining the limits."

Some 16,600 new cases of primary liver cancer are expected this year in the United States, but tumors that spread to the liver from elsewhere (so-called metastatic tumors) frequently hasten death from other, more prevalent types of cancer, such as skin, colon, breast and prostate cancers. If laboratory tests with other cancer cell types are promising, the compound might be useful for treating any tumor in the liver, not just ones originating there, the researchers say.

Two years ago, frustrated because most patients die within six months, Geschwind approached Pedersen with the idea of finding a new way to treat liver cancer. The plan: Identify potential new drugs and use intra-arterial delivery, a procedure with which Geschwind has considerable expertise, to get them directly into the tumor.

The timing was right, because Pedersen had learned enough about the role of energy production in liver cancer over the previous two decades to warrant looking for a possible new drug. Biological chemist Young Ko, Ph.D., now an assistant professor of radiology, tested a dozen or so possible energy-blocking molecules in the lab to find ones that could kill liver cancer cells.

In 2001, the team reported that already-available 3-bromopyruvate was head and shoulders above the rest, in part because it blocks both ways cells make energy (in the form of a molecule called ATP). "3-Bromopyruvate looks like a chemical found in our own body," says Ko, who used 3-bromopyruvate in her graduate work years ago. "It shows a possible drug doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive; this is just as simple and as good as can be."

Building on those laboratory studies, the researchers now have tested the compound’s effects in an animal model of liver cancer. Team member and pathologist Michael Torbenson, M.D., saw damage only to the tumor when he examined the tumor, liver, and other possibly affected organs from the rabbits. The researchers don’t understand how normal cells resist the compound’s effects, but cancer cells’ greater use of glucose to make energy may play a role.

In another experiment, the researchers discovered that small tumors in the lungs, buds from the original tumor in the liver, weren’t affected by arterial delivery of 3-bromopyruvate, but were substantially reduced by intravenous injection.

"It might be logical to treat tumors in the liver by direct intra-arterial injection, and then use an intravenous injection to kill cancer cells that have spread," suggests Pedersen, "but knowing whether this is so is still a long way off."

Joanna Downer | EurekAlert
Further information:
http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>