Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cancer drug could aid premature labour

14.06.2005


AN anti-cancer drug could potentially be the first effective treatment for the many thousands of premature births that occur worldwide each year, scientific tests have found.



The drug, which has been used to treat types of cancer including breast, bowel and lung, has been found in the laboratory to control levels of a hormone receptor protein in the womb which is linked with giving birth.

The findings, from a research team at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, should bring hope to the women who see their premature babies die or suffer from physical or mental disability as a result of being born too early.


The research, funded by the charity Action Medical Research, is published today in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

In the UK each year, around 10 per cent, approximately 60,000, pregnancies end with premature births of less than 37 weeks gestation, which is the highest rate in Western Europe and costs the NHS millions of pounds. The problem is worse in the developing world.

Drugs currently used to treat women who give birth prematurely are relatively ineffective, and often have dangerous side effects, such as heart problems in mother and baby.

The research team examined the effect that the anti-cancer drug Trichostatin A - better known as TSA - had on the levels of receptors on human smooth muscle cells of the womb, or uterus, that are affected by the pregnancy hormone, hCG (Human chorionic gonadotrophin).

During pregnancy, the placenta releases large amounts of hCG. This activates the CG/LH receptors on the muscle cells of the womb to produce a muscle relaxant, which in turn prevents contractions and keeps the uterus in a relaxed state. It is known that decreases in hCG receptor levels may lead to contractions in the womb and labour.

Women whose babies are born prematurely experience an acute drop in the numbers of the CG/LH receptors and are thus less responsive to the hCG hormone. Laboratory tests carried out by the Newcastle University team found that TSA is able to increase numbers of the CG/LH receptors in uterine smooth muscle cells.

The researchers are now seeking funding for clinical trials to assess whether TSA would work in women who are due to give birth prematurely, or in those who are at high risk of having a premature baby.

Research team leader, Dr Nick Europe-Finner, of Newcastle University’s School of Surgical and Reproductive Sciences, said: “Many people think that that premature births are no longer a problem and would be astonished to know that, even in a sophisticated, developed nation like the UK, there are still around 10 per cent of births which are classed as premature.

“It’s particularly frustrating for doctors and mothers alike that there is still no effective treatment, despite the fact that many premature babies die or have physical or mental conditions that may affect them for the rest of their lives.

“Our laboratory tests show that the drug TSA is able to fool uterine muscle cells and suggest it could be a potential new therapeutic agent in preventing premature birth from occurring. We now need to take the research a step further and test it in a clinical setting, although funding for this would be required.”

Mr Andrew Loughney , consultant obstetrician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “This is a very exciting area of research because it may lead to the development of new, more effective ways of preventing premature birth.

“Premature birth is a huge problem in the UK. In the hospital where I work, the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, we find ourselves looking after women in premature labour day in and day out without having any really effective treatments to offer.

“There are two challenges ahead. The first will be to see whether the drug has a clear clinical effect in reducing contractions in the womb. The second will be to ensure that the new treatment has no adverse effects for the mother or the baby.”

Dr Nick Europe-Finner | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk

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 >>>