Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anti-cancer drug shows early promise in pulmonary hypertension

15.11.2006
A drug used to treat kidney cancer can prevent the development of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) in rodents, report researchers from the University of Chicago at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Heart Association, Nov. 12-15 in Chicago. There is no curative therapy for this condition.

"We are excited about this finding because there are so few treatment options for pulmonary hypertension," said study author Mardi Gomberg-Maitland, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "We have drugs that can slow progression of the disease but nothing that can stop or reverse the process. This is a ray of hope."

Pulmonary hypertension and cancer share certain features. Both diseases involve abnormal cellular growth. These abnormal cells – in the case of pulmonary hypertension, those that line the blood vessels leading to the lungs – release signals that stimulate the growth of small new blood vessels to feed the renegade cells, allowing further proliferation, and thickening of the vessel walls. Sorafenib appears to interfere with that process.

Although originally designed to fight colon cancer, the drug, sorafenib (Nexavar®), proved much more effective against kidney cancer. Sorafenib inhibits an enzyme, known as Raf kinase, which plays a role in tumor-cell growth. Researchers eventually realized it also hit other targets. After clinical trials in kidney cancer patients demonstrated improved survival, it won FDA approval in December 2005.

Now, in a surprise finding, it appears to have a use in treating this cardiovascular disease.

In pulmonary hypertension, the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs constrict. Their walls thicken, which narrows the opening and reduces blood flow. Pressures within the arteries build up, requiring the heart to pump harder to push blood through the narrowed tubes to the lungs. Eventually the heart can no longer keep up. Less and less blood reaches the lungs, the heart enlarges to try to overcome the pressure, and damage to the overworked heart accumulates.

Although treatment for pulmonary hypertension has improved, long-term survival, even with therapy, is disappointing, similar to that for lung cancer. Because sorafenib inhibits the chemical signals that can trigger both cellular proliferation and new blood vessel growth, Gomberg-Maitland and colleagues suspected it might slow the growth and thickening of the pulmonary artery walls.

To test this theory they treated rats at high risk for pulmonary hypertension with sorafenib. The researchers studied five groups of rats. One group stayed in normal cages and received no medication. The other four groups spent three weeks in a low-oxygen environment – about half the normal level – which can trigger pulmonary hypertension. Rats in the reduced-oxygen chambers received: no medication, a drug called SU5416 (well known to cause severe pulmonary hypertension in this setting), SU5416 plus sorafenib, or sorafenib alone.

As expected, the unmedicated rats in a low-oxygen environment had mildly elevated pulmonary artery pressures after three weeks and those that received SU5416 developed severe pulmonary hypertension. But, those that received sorafenib or sorafenib plus S5416, had negligible pressure increases. Sorafenib appeared not only to counteract the effects of the low-oxygen environment but also to prevent the additional damage caused by SU5416.

"This was an encouraging sign," said Gomberg-Maitland. This is "one of the best models we have for this disease," she said.

The side effects of the drug in humans have been relatively mild. The most common adverse effects are: rashes of the face and arms or hands and feet, mild diarrhea, and fatigue.

A phase-1 clinical trial of the drug in human patients with pulmonary hypertension is expected to begin this winter.

John Easton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>