Monday May 21, 2018

Effective Treatment to Protect Cancer Patients From Blood Clots

Taking oral drugs daily can be an effective treatment for nearly 10 million cancer patients worldwide suffering from a deadly blood clot condition, results from a clinical trial have showed.

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Taking oral drugs daily can be an effective treatment for nearly 10 million cancer patients worldwide suffering from a deadly blood clot condition, results from a clinical trial have shown.

People with cancer have an increased risk of developing blood clots, with roughly one in five experiencing venous thromboembolism (VTE) — either a blood clot in a deep vein or a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot.

The results from the clinical trial called “select-d” suggested that prescribing the oral drug rivaroxaban significantly reduced VTE recurrence among patients with cancer.

“Clinicians were already adopting the oral drug into practice for non-cancer patients and now they have data from this study to indicate that this form of treatment is an alternative option for many cancer patients who have a clot,” said lead author Annie Young, Professor at the University of Warwick in Britain.

Although there are many causes and risk factors for VTE, cancer patients are particularly at risk due to a combination of factors such as immobility, pancreatic and gastric tumours as well as chemotherapy, the researcher said.

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)
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For the “select-d” trial, researchers enrolled 406 patients who had cancer and VTE; most (69 per cent) were receiving cancer treatment (typically chemotherapy) at the time of their VTE.

Half were randomly assigned to receive low-molecular-weight heparin (dalteparin) and half were given the oral drug rivaroxaban. After six months of treatment, the VTE recurrence rate was four per cent among those taking the tablet and 11 per cent in those receiving dalteparin.

The results for secondary outcomes were mixed, the researcher said.

In patients receiving rivaroxaban, there were around the same percentage of major bleeding events (6 per cent) as those receiving dalteparin (4 per cent) but a marked and significant increase in clinically relevant non-major bleeds (13 per cent) with rivaroxaban compared to those having low molecular weight heparin (4 per cent).

Also Read: Drug Used For Osteoporosis May Help in Reducing Heart Attack Risk

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)

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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.

Also Read: Leukemia Progression in Kids Can be Delayed Through Bone Density Treatment

“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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