Researchers are currently investigating the potential of a new drug in the fight against brain cancer. The drug targets the circadian rhythm or "internal clock" of the body at the cellular level, which stops the growth of cancer cells. (As carried out the treatment of brain cancer in Israel )
Cancer brain tumors resistant to many traditional treatments. Can the internal clock of the body intervention to change this?
Cancer of brain and central nervous system (CNS) are aggressive and often resistant to standard treatment protocols, designated in these cases, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy .
The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that about 23,800 new cases of brain cancer and the central nervous system have been reported in the last year, accounting for 1.4 percent of all new cancer cases.
After treatment, only 33.6% of these people have survived for 5 years or more in the period 2007-2013.
Over the years, experts have focused on developing new and much more effective methods of treatment of brain cancer in order to improve remission rates and survival.
Now, researchers led by Dr. Satchindanandoy Panda from the Institute for Biological Studies. Salk in La Jolla, California, began experimenting with a new drug that can disrupt the growth of cancer cells without toxic side effects of traditional chemotherapy agents.
The researchers studied the effect of the drug on the SR9009 brain tumors in a mouse model. Their results were published yesterday in the journal Nature.
Experimental drugs "starve" cancer cells
In his research, Dr. Panda and her colleagues note that the circadian rhythms (internal clock or the body that govern our daily biological processes) at the cellular level can lead to a higher risk of developing cancer. This, they add, there is both humans and mice.
SR9009 drug acts on a type of protein called REV-ERB, which ensures the correct functioning of the circadian rhythms.
The drug is "agonist REV-ERB», which means that it can establish a molecular bond with the REV-ERB, increasing their activity.
Researchers have found that an experimental drug leads to eventual death of cancer cells, disrupting their ability to "eat" and grow, which also means that they can not then be replicated and spread further. Thus, the survival of mice involved in this experiment was increased.
"We are always thinking about how to prevent the division of cancer cells," - says Dr. Panda. "But as soon as they are divided, they also need to grow before they can again be divided, and the growth they need all these raw materials, which are usually not enough."
«SR9009, is known to cross the blood-brain barrier" - the researchers wrote in their paper, which means that the drug can be introduced into the bloodstream instead of entering directly into the brain.
Another important feature of this experimental formulation is that, although it seems to be equally effective as the other compounds used to treat brain cancer, it selectively targets cancer cells and has no toxic side effect.
«[W] hile SR9009 antitumor activity was similar to the current standard therapy of glioblastoma [brain cancer], which is temozolomide, SR9009 does not lead to toxicity," - the researchers write.
The drug "seemed to work in all types of cancer"
Moreover, the choice of cancer cells targeted by the experimental drugs, are not confined to the treatment of glioblastoma .
in vitro tests revealed that SR9009 can be used to effectively attack other types of cancer cells, including those which are characteristic for breast cancer, colon cancer, leukemias and melanoma or skin cancer.
"Focusing on the REV-ERB, it seems to have worked in all types of cancer that we tried. This makes sense, because no matter where and how to begin cancer, all cancer cells need more nutrients and more recycled materials to create new cells. "
This may mean that in SR9009 future can be used to treat a wide range of cancer tumors without toxic side effects caused by conventional chemotherapy drugs.
Says Dr Helen Rippon, executive director of the Worldwide Cancer Research - a charitable organization that funds the current study - explained: "Cancer cells often seem to have disturbed the internal clock." This not only violates the daily rhythms of cell, but may also include the molecular circuits that promote tumor growth. "
"Understanding these fundamental flaws in the root of the cancer is important, - she stressed - if we want to develop a completely new therapies that are more effective and have fewer side effects."
"We are very pleased - concludes Dr. Rippon - that this research has led to new treatments for brain tumors and that early results indicate that this may be a fruitful approach to other cancers."