Wednesday January 23, 2019

Arthritis drug could cure blood cancer: Researchers

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blood cancer

London: A drug given to arthritis sufferers could be used to treat patients with blood cancer, say researchers from University of Sheffield in Britain.

The discovery may open up cost effective treatment options for people suffering from the blood cancer myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) across the world as the anti-inflammatory medicine is one thousandth of the cost of a promising drug which has been shown to work in the same way.

“We have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of this group of chronic diseases – a breakthrough that may represent a new treatment option able to bring relief to both patients and health funders,” said one of the researchers Martin Zeidler.

Most often diagnosed in people in their 50s and 60s, MPN cause an overproduction of blood cells creating a significant impact on quality-of-life, with symptoms such as night sweats, itching and tiredness.

Currently, MPN treatment is limited to aspirin, removal of excess blood and mild chemotherapy.

Recently, the drug Ruxolitinib was shown to provide relief, but at a cost of over 40,000 pounds per year per patient, it has not been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in Britain.

The study has discovered that Methotrexate (MTX) can work in the same way. It is commonly used at low doses to treat inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis and has few side effects.

medical research

“Given that a year’s course of low-dose MTX costs around 30 pounds, the potential to repurpose MTX could provide thousands of patients with a much needed treatment option and also generate substantial savings for health care systems,” Zeidler said.

In this study, the scientists tested the effectiveness of the drug in treating MPN in fruit fly and human cells.

The researchers are now looking to undertake clinical trials to examine the possibility of repurposing low-dose MTX for the treatment of MPNs.

The results of the study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

 

(IANS)

Next Story

Protein Identified Enables New Drugs to Increase ‘Good Cholesterol’ Levels

Importantly, ORP2 could also be targeted to fight cancer. 

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ORP2 could offer a new strategic line of research and possibly succeed where the use of statins in this area hasn't, Yang noted.

Researchers have identified a protein, known as ORP2, responsible for transporting cholesterol inside cells that opens the way for new drugs to increase the body’s ‘good cholesterol’ levels.

ORP2 can increase the amount of cholesterol in cells, a process called cholesterol efflux. We think this pathway will be very important for the development of a drug to increase this good cholesterol, said Rob Yang, Professor from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Until now, drugs including statins have targeted bad cholesterol (LDL) by inhibiting its synthesis in the liver in an effort to mitigate the risk of heart disease and stroke.

However, while statins are effective at lowering LDL levels, they do little to increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and there is no other drug in use that can significantly boost the human body’s HDL levels.

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Researchers have identified a protein, known as ORP2, responsible for transporting cholesterol inside cells that opens the way for new drugs to increase the body’s ‘good cholesterol’ levels. . VOA

Up to 90 per cent of a cell’s cholesterol is found at the cell’s plasma membrane, said the study published in the journal Molecular Cell.

“Knowing the molecules that deliver cholesterol to the plasma membrane itself is a huge step forward. The transport of cholesterol to the plasma membrane is the key to the generation of HDL.

If such a drug could be developed, it would not replace statins, but would be used complementarily, with one drug used to reduce the bad cholesterol and the other to increase levels of the good, Yang suggested.

Also Read: Number of Students Opting for Science or Tech Are On Rise in India

Importantly, ORP2 could also be targeted to fight cancer.

Cancer, U.S.

Importantly, ORP2 could also be targeted to fight cancer.

The rampant and uncontrolled growth of cells that characterises cancer could be stopped in its tracks by reducing the amount of cholesterol produced.

ORP2 could offer a new strategic line of research and possibly succeed where the use of statins in this area hasn’t, Yang noted. (IANS)