Tumour suppressor drugs activate a gene to block the growth of cancerous cells

By Live Dr - Mon Jun 08, 11:35 am

New drugs will activate cancer blocking gene
Researchers are working on drugs that could activate a gene known to block the growth of cancerous cells.
New drugs will activate cancer blocking gene
Led by Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) director Peter Klinken, they have screened a large collection of drug-like molecules and also identified a number of compounds which can increase levels of the Hls5 gene, ScienceAlert reported Friday.

“Because of the role Hls5 plays in keeping cell growth at a normal rate, we expect that these compounds will greatly slow down the growth of cancer cells. This discovery is very encouraging and a great step forward in our quest to create new cancer treatments,” said Klinken.

The Hls5 tumour suppressor gene was reported by Klinken’s team in 2004.

The group’s research has revealed that people who don’t have the gene – or those who have a mutated or inactive form of the gene – are more likely to develop certain types of cancer.

The WAIMR team has spent more than a year screening 70,000 compounds which increase Hls5 levels.

“Our preliminary data reveals that several of these compounds do indeed markedly slow down the growth of human cancer cells,” said Klinken.

“Importantly, we also know through computer modelling that nearly all of these compounds have drug-like qualities.”

“From here, we take the research to the next phase of laboratory testing with the ultimate hope of investigating if one of these molecules can be used to create a fresh treatment that can slow growth of cancer cells in patients.”

Source: Indo-Asian News Service

By Jacob Goldstein

DogIn a sign of several things — people’s willingness to spend money on their pets, the promise of targeted therapies for cancer, the drug industry’s push to expand multiple revenue streams — the FDA for the first time approved a cancer drug for dogs.

Palladia, a Pfizer drug, is approved for treating advanced mast cell tumors, a common form of cancer in dogs. In a study of 150 dogs, tumors shrank or disappeared in 43% of those that received the drug, compared with 8% of those who received a placebo. The study didn’t look at whether the drug extended the dogs’ lives, and side effects included vomiting and diharrea, said Cheryl London a vet oncologist at Ohio State who conducted early-stage research on the drug.

The company wouldn’t say what the drug will cost. But George Fennell, who runs Pfizer’s pet drugs business in the U.S., said the Pfizer sells $2.6 billion of animal drugs world-wide each year, of which slightly less than half is from its pet business.

As the human drugs business has gotten tougher in the past few years, Pfizer has brought several new pet drugs to the U.S. market, including one for weight loss, and another for motion sickness.

Like Pfizer’s (human) cancer drug Sutent, Palladia is in a class of targeted cancer drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. In fact, Sutent and Palladia both came out of Sugen, a company that was acquired by Pharmacia, which in turn was bought by Pfizer.

Pet lovers who know a thing or two about the price of cancer drugs are likely hoping that Palladia won’t be as expensive as Sutent; the WSJ recently put Sutent’s price at nearly $5,000 for 28 pills of 25 mg each.

Photo by ciao-chow via Flickr

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