Sunday September 22, 2019

Cancer May Lead to Premature Ageing, Says Study

They established that the NOX2 enzyme generates superoxide which drives the ageing process

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Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

While it is well known that ageing promotes cancer development, UK researchers have showed that the reverse is also true.

A team from the University of East Anglia (UEA) found that leukaemia — a type of blood cancer — promotes premature ageing in healthy bone marrow cells.

Importantly, the aged bone marrow cells accelerate the growth and development of the leukaemia, creating a vicious cycle that fuels the disease.

“Our results provide evidence that cancer causes ageing. We have clearly shown that the cancer cell itself drives the ageing process in the neighbouring non-cancer cells,” said Stuart Rushworth from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

“Our research reveals that leukaemia uses this biological phenomenon to its advantage to accelerate the disease,” he added.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

The study, published on Thursday in the journal Blood, also identified the mechanism by which this process of premature ageing occurs in the bone marrow of leukaemia patients and highlights the potential impact this could have on future treatments.

The team showed NOX2, an enzyme usually involved in the body’s response to infection, to be present in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells — and this was found to be responsible for creating the ageing conditions.

They established that the NOX2 enzyme generates superoxide which drives the ageing process.

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By slowing down NOX2, researchers showed the reduction in aged neighbouring non-malignant cells resulted in slower cancer growth.

Rushworth said: “It was not previously known that leukaemia induces ageing of the local non cancer environment. We hope that this biological function can be exploited in future, paving the way for new drugs.” (IANS)

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Tiny Bubbles In Body Better Than Chemotherapy, Research Suggests

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy

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Cancer, Treatment, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research
"What we've done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours." Pixabay

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy.

Healthy cells in our body release nano-sized bubbles that transfer genetic material such as DNA and RNA to other cells. It’s your DNA that stores the important information necessary for RNA to produce proteins and make sure they act accordingly.

According to the researchers, these bubbly extracellular vesicles (EV) could become mini treatment transporters, carrying a combination of therapeutic drugs and genes that target cancer cells and kill them.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, focused on breast cancer cells in mice.

“What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours,” said the study’s lead author Masamitsu Kanada, Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University.

Cancer, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research, Treatment
A Caucasian female nurse smiles as she administers chemotherapy through a catheter to an African American male patient in a clinical setting. Wikimedia Commons

These drugs or prodrugs start out as inactive compounds. But once they metabolize in the body, they are immediately activated and can get to work on fighting everything from cancer to headaches.

Aspirin is an example of a common prodrug.

In this case, researchers used EVs, to deliver the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells.

Minicircle DNA and regular plasmid – two different gene vectors that act as additional delivery mechanisms for DNA – were loaded into the vesicles to see which was better at helping transport treatment.

This is known as a gene-directed enzyme, prodrug therapy.

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They found that the minicircle DNA was 14 times more effective at delivery and even more successful at killing cancerous tumours.

“Conventional chemotherapy isn’t able to differentiate between tumours and normal tissue, so it attacks it all,” Kanada said.

With EVs, treatment can be targeted and because of their compatibility with the human body, this type of delivery could minimize the risk of unwanted immune responses that can come with other gene therapies.

“If EVs prove to be effective in humans, it would be an ideal platform for gene delivery and it could be used in humans sooner than we expect,” Kanada added. (IANS)