Sunday August 19, 2018

Leukemia Progression in Kids Can be Delayed Through Bone Density Treatment

Targeting a bone loss mechanism that occurs during the development of leukemia may hold the key to reducing the progression of the disease in children, researchers have found. Leukemia is a cancer of blood-forming tissues, hindering the body's ability to fight infection.

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Our finding that the cells surrounding the leukemia cells can contribute to treatment failure or success has led to a paradigm shift.
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Targeting a bone loss mechanism that occurs during the development of leukemia may hold the key to reducing the progression of the disease in children, researchers have found.

Leukemia is a cancer of blood-forming tissues, hindering the body’s ability to fight infection.

The study focused on the most common form of cancer in children, a subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and witnessed substantial bone loss during its development, Xinhua news agency reported.

Children and adults treated with oral antibiotics may have a higher risk of developing kidney stones, according to a new study.
Representational Image, Pixabay

The pre-clinical findings from identifying the mechanism were promising and suggested that targeting the microenvironment around leukemia cells could not only help fight the cancer, but “simultaneously provide relief for one of its most common and painful side-effects, bone loss”, said lead author Laurence Cheung, a researcher from the Telethon Kids Cancer Centre, West Perth in Australia.

In the study, published in the journal Leukemia, the team identified a signal produced by the leukemia cells which instructed cells in the microenvironment to eat away at the bone.

The researchers then used a commercially available drug to target the cells in the microenvironment around the leukemia cells.

Our finding that the cells surrounding the leukemia cells can contribute to treatment failure or success has led to a paradigm shift.
Representational image, pixabay

“Importantly, we found that this not only compensated for the leukemia-dependent bone fragility, but also reduced leukemia progression,” Cheung said.

“To date, the main strategy for cancer therapy in children has focused on targeting malignant cells with chemotherapy, which is toxic for the leukemia cells but also toxic for the patient.

Also Read: Effective Treatment to Protect Cancer Patients From Blood Clots

“Our finding that the cells surrounding the leukemia cells can contribute to treatment failure or success has led to a paradigm shift.

“It means this potentially could be a powerful adjuvant therapy. It’s not going to replace chemotherapy, but we propose that using chemotherapy and treating the microenvironment at the same time will have more benefit than just the chemotherapy by itself,” Cheung said. (IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)