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Oral drug to help in tumors. Pixabay

US researchers have found that an oral drug can be effective in stopping tumors from growing. The team from the University of Colorado Cancer Center found that slowing down NLRP3 can reduce inflammation and curb tumor growth and progression.

“NLRP3 is a member of a larger family that is involved in sensing danger signals,” said Carlo Marchetti, from the varsity’s School of Medicine. “It is a receptor that surveils the intercellular compartment of a cell, looking for dangerous molecules or pathogens.


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“When NLRP3 recognizes these signals, it leads to the activation of caspase-1, a protein involved in the processing and maturation of interleukin-1-beta into its biologically active form, causing an intense inflammatory response. We found that in melanoma, this process is dysregulated, resulting in tumor growth,” Marchetti said.

ALSO READ: Study Finds Why Some Cancer Drugs May Not Be Effective

The study is published in the journal PNAS. The oral drug NLRP3 inhibitor used in the study (Dapansutrile) has already shown to be effective in clinical trials to treat gout and heart disease, and it is currently being tested in Covid-19 as well.

The researchers are now trying to find out if this NLRP3 inhibitor can be successfully used in melanoma patients who are resistant to checkpoint inhibitors. “Checkpoint inhibitors increase the efficacy of the immune system to kill tumors, but sometimes tumors become resistant to this treatment,” Marchetti said. “A big part of cancer research now is to find therapies that can be combined with checkpoint inhibitors to improve their efficacy,” he noted. (IANS/SP)


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