Sunday November 18, 2018

Arthritis drug could be a possibility to cure skin cancer

Only five per cent of skin cancer cases involve melanoma, it causes the majority of deaths from the disease. If caught early, melanoma is very treatable or the treatment becomes more difficult.

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Scientists have found a way of detecting cancer through blood tests. IANS
Scientists have found a way of detecting cancer through blood tests. IANS
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London, Dec 20, 2017: Combining the treatment for the most deadly form of skin cancer with a common anti-rheumatic drug could provide more effective results, new research has shown.

The findings showed that using “leflunomide” — an immunosuppressive drug approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis — in combination with another melanoma drug, selumetinib almost completely stopped the growth of a melanoma tumour in mice.

“By combining therapies, it’s possible to attack the disease from several angles, which makes it harder for the melanoma to develop resistance to any of the drugs,” said Grant Wheeler from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK.

“Our research has shown that there could also be further benefits – by joining these two drugs together you may be able to enhance their effects, getting a treatment that is more than the sum of its parts,” Wheeler said.

Although only five per cent of skin cancer cases involve melanoma, it causes the majority of deaths from the disease. If caught early, melanoma is very treatable, but once the cancer has metastasised or spread, then treatment becomes more difficult.

The research, published in the journal Oncotarget, tested leflunomide’s effect against melanoma with selumetinib.

When the team tested leflunomide in the lab, it was found to work on melanoma cells irrespective of the genetic signature of the cancer.

This means that leflunomide has the potential to be used in all melanoma cases, not just for tumours harbouring BRAF mutations, the researchers said.

However, when leflunomide was tested on melanoma cells jointly with selumetinib, the scientists found it was more effective than either drug on its own.

In mice, the two drugs together almost completely halted the growth of the tumour over a 12 day period, which far outstripped the effect of either drug used in isolation, the researchers said. (IANS)

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A Comprehensive Study Of Parasitic Worms Release Numerous Anwers

The analysis found almost a million new genes that had not been seen before, belonging to thousands of new gene families, and identified many new potential drug targets and drugs.

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parasitic Worm
A giant 25m worm representing the parasitic worm of schistosomiasis, that causes significant suffering and death to thousands of people around the world, is pictured on the Lake Leman on the occasion of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Summit, in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

The largest study to date of the genetic makeup of parasitic worms has found hundreds of new clues about how they invade the human body, evade its immune system and cause disease.

The results point to potential de-worming treatments to help fight some of the most neglected tropical diseases — including river blindness, schistosomiasis and hookworm disease — which affect around a billion people worldwide.

“Parasitic worms are some of our oldest foes and have evolved over millions of years to be expert manipulators of the human immune system,” said Makedonka Mitreva of Washington University’s McDonnell Genome Institute, who co-led the work with colleagues from Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute and Edinburgh University.

parasitic Worm
World’s longest tapeworm. wikimedia

She said the results of this study would lead to both a deeper knowledge of the biology of parasites and a better understanding of how human immune systems can be harnessed or controlled.

Parasitic worm infections can last many years and can cause severe pain, physical disabilities, retarded development in children and social stigma linked to deformity.

Current medicines to combat them — including drugs made by Sanofi, GSK and Johnson & Johnson — can be moderately effective and are often donated by drugmakers or sold at reduced prices to those who need them. But the spectrum of drugs to treat worm infections is still limited.

To try to improve the potential drug pipeline and to understand how worms invade and take up residence inside humans and other animals, the research team compared the genomes of 81 species of roundworms and flatworms, including 45 that had never previously had their genomes sequenced.

parasitic Worm
How gut microbiota can aid in early diagnosis of liver cancer.

The analysis found almost a million new genes that had not been seen before, belonging to thousands of new gene families, and identified many new potential drug targets and drugs.

Also Read: Genes Tied To Obesity May Lower Risk Of Diabetes

“We focused our search by looking at existing drugs for human illnesses,” said the Sanger Institute’s Avril Coghlan, who worked on the team. She said this offered a possible fast-track route “to pinpointing existing drugs that could be repurposed for deworming.”

The study’s findings were published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics. (VOA)