Monday June 17, 2019

New Therapy for Drug-Resistant Skin Cancer Suggested by Researchers

A team of researchers has managed to exploit a vulnerability in melanoma or skin cancer that develops resistance to a targeted therapy, providing a potential new therapeutic strategy to selectively kill the drug-resistant cancer cells.

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The reason for increased bleeding is not known. It may be because rivaroxaban is more 'potent', the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said. (IANS)
Representational image. Pixabay

A team of researchers has managed to exploit a vulnerability in melanoma or skin cancer that develops resistance to a targeted therapy, providing a potential new therapeutic strategy to selectively kill the drug-resistant cancer cells.

The study has shown that when cancer cells develop drug resistance, they also acquire a new vulnerability, the Xinhua reported.

The researchers, led by Rene Bernards of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode Institute in Denmark, exposed this new vulnerability in melanoma that has developed resistance to treatment with a BRAF inhibitor — a targeted therapy that blocks a signalling pathway in the cancer cell through which it gets the message to keep on dividing.

Since more than half of all melanoma patients have a mutation in this BRAF gene, the BRAF-inhibitor stops tumour growth in those patients.

But within a few months, the tumour cell adapts the original signalling pathway and becomes active again, and even hyperactive.

The researchers, however, found that the hyperactive resistant melanoma cells produced large amounts of reactive oxygen species, but cancer cells still sensitive to the drug did not do so.

Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells.
Representational image, pixabay

The study, published in the journal Cell, found that the abundance of free radicals caused the resistant melanoma cells to stop dividing, but they did not die.

When tested on mice along with an existing drug, vorinostat, which is known to stimulate the production of free oxygen radicals, the researchers saw tumours shrink under the influence of the drug, the report said.

This laid the foundation for a new therapeutic strategy: Treating patients with BRAF-mutated melanoma, as usual, with signal pathway inhibitors.

When the tumour becomes resistant, stop giving those inhibitors and immediately treat the patients with vorinostat to kill the resistant cancer cells.

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“It is not a combination drug. It is very important that you first stop the signalling pathway inhibitors because they suppress the free radicals and thus eliminate the effects of vorinostat,” Bernards said. (IANS)

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Super Drug to Take on Stubborn Tuberculosis in Uttar Pradesh, India

Another pill with bedaquiline has already been introduced in the state to fight excessively drug resistant (XDR) TB

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Drug, Tuberculosis, Uttar Pradesh
The new anti-TB drug, with delamanid as active substance, is currently administered to patients. Pixabay

Uttar Pradesh may soon get a new drug to fight the multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB).

The new anti-TB drug, with delamanid as active substance, is currently administered to patients — primarily children in the age group of six to 17 years — in a few southern states of India and is yet to be introduced in Uttar Pradesh, which reported 4.22 lakh patients in 2018.

According to the State TB officer Santosh Gupta, “Delamanid would be introduced in UP in the third quarter of the year, as per the central guidelines.”

“We are awaiting procurement of the drug from the union government. Four of our officers have been trained for implementation of it, which will be given to children (9-17 years) with MDR-TB,” the doctor added.

Drug, Tuberculosis, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh may soon get a new drug to fight the multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB). Pixabay

Gupta said that another pill with bedaquiline has already been introduced in the state to fight excessively drug resistant (XDR) TB and for which 18 nodal drug resistance centres have been set up.

“An XDR-TB patient is resistant to all anti-TB drugs, including even the stronger combinations of medicines. It is an advanced form of MDR-TB. Bedaquiline, which is WHO recommended, has been made available to patients for free and is found to be effective,” said Gupta and added that patients were being kept under close observation for side effects.

He further laid emphasis on the early detection of TB cases.

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Meanwhile, chairman of the UP state task force for TB control and head of KGMU’s respiratory medicine department, Professor Suryakant said: “Around 28 lakh TB patients are recorded in India. If nutrition is not received in the form of lentils/pulses, fruits and vegetables in diet, a person is more susceptible to the TB bacteria.” (IANS)