New drug in the fight against cancer
A drug that weakens cells of cancer without the body being exposed to the destructive effects of chemotherapy and radiation is on its way of development by the researchers.
It was found by researchers that tumors in mice with cancer shrank by 90% with the use of this drug. This compound called OGT2378 appears to be blocking the growth of cancer cells by the manipulation of the immune system of the host.
Dr. Stephan Ladisch, director of the center for cancer and immunology research at the Children's Research Institute in Washington, DC however cautioned that the research is still in the preliminary stage and there is no certainty of cure by this treatment.
The goal of the researchers is to dampen the production of gangliosides, molecules found on the edges of cells. In tumors, these molecules create a kind of "cloud" around cancerous cells that hijacks healthy cells, Ladisch explained.
"Putting all of this together made us think -- what would happen if we were able to interrupt this process? Suppose we could stop the release of these molecules? Would that stop the ability of (tumors) to form?" Ladisch said. "The answer to that is 'yes.'".
These findings were reported at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC.
Mice treated with OGT2378 were found to have tumors of smaller size. OGT2378 is a chemical compound, which was already used in drugs for curing metabolic diseases. This compound is a carbohydrate and seems to block the enzymes needed by cancer cells to create gangliosides.
Ladisch also stated that though these findings are good it is necessary for more research to be done and it is very important to test these in humans. He said that one cannot be sure that there might not be a toxicity that went unnoticed.
James Paulson, who is a cancer researcher and director of the Consortium for Functional Glycomics at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego has stated that the approach is still promising.
An interesting factor would be to see if this drug, in combination with therapies killing cancer cells which already exists, will lead to regimens which are more effective for increasing the rates of cancer remission and cure.
Microcalcification: This refers to deposit of tiny amount of calcium in the tissue. If this occurs in the breast, it is visible as tiny spots on mammogram. Some patterns of micorcalcification in the mammogram are suggestive of cancer. See cancer terms
for more cancer related terms.