Ancient Drug Solution to the Deadliest Cancer?

Is the Oldest Drug Solution to the Most Fatal Cancer?
Is Ancient Medicine Cozum to Most Deadly Cancer - Combining two drugs could be key to curing small cell lung cancer. Washington University School of Medicine

Small cell lung cancer, the deadliest type of lung cancer, can be treated with an old drug. That may be the case, according to a mouse study led by scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Cyclophosphamide was originally used to treat small cell lung cancer but was phased out in favor of platinum-based drugs in the 1980s and is now used in newer therapy.

According to co-senior author Nima Mosammaparast, MD, PhD, an associate professor of pathology and immunology and medicine at the University of Washington and a researcher at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine, "Small-cell lung cancer there is a treatment option – platinum-based chemotherapy – and that adds maybe two to six months of life.”

“The thing is, these cancers first respond to treatment, but then they come back. Nothing has changed in those 30 years. These cancers are incredibly resistant to everything. This study shows that it is possible to minimize resistance and perhaps improve treatment. It also gives these patients a much better chance by combining an old drug with a new target.”

The SMYD3 protein, which is abundantly expressed in small cell lung cancer and a few other malignancies, is the cause of it all. Because healthy lung tissue has very little SMYD3, the researchers hypothesized that eliminating the protein could target malignant cells while sparing healthy cells.

Dual Approach in Cancer Treatment

When the tumors in the mice were large enough, the researchers gave them cyclophosphamide and an SMYD3 inhibitor. However, SMYD3 inhibition alone failed to stop the tumors from expanding. Similar results were obtained with cyclophosphamide alone.

Both patients' tumors initially stopped growing as a result of treatment, but after about two weeks the tumors continued to grow once again. Only the combination of the two drugs was able to stop the tumors in their tracks and prevented them from starting to develop again throughout the trials.

A phase 1 clinical trial is under discussion by a number of other organizations, according to Mosammaparast.

“We will have a hard time convincing doctors to use an outdated drug. But this tactic has the advantage of perhaps succeeding when other treatments have failed. The tumor from the patient who had previously relapsed on platinum-based therapy only responded to this therapy. “There is a strong need for better treatments for people with small cell lung cancer and I am very optimistic about the prospects in this area.”

Source: interestingengineering

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