Wednesday March 27, 2019

Novel Approach to Treat Cancer Cells

"We have shown that we can image 'activated platelets' to detect tumours with clinically available imaging technologies such as ultrasound and PET/CT," said Karlheinz Peter, Professor at the varsity

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Cancer word on newspaper
Cancer. Pixabay

Researchers could provide a novel approach to targeting and destroying difficult-to-treat cancer cells, providing new therapeutic options for a broad range of cancers, finds a new study.

Early detection of cancer is crucial for successful therapy. However, some cancer types do not have specific cancer surface markers that can be used to detect them and even the same cancer type can exhibit different properties in different patients.

The latest finding, which was discovered while studying activated platelets in the setting of heart disease, may now prove useful for delivering targeted treatment to cancer cells without major side effects.

Platelets are small blood cells that promote blood clotting and prevent us from bleeding when we are injured.

Platelets and more specifically, “activated platelets”, accumulate in the area surrounding a wide range of tumour types.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Based on this observation, a team at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia has now developed a new imaging and platelet-targeting chemotherapy agent for the early detection and treatment of cancers.

In addition, this approach provides the means to deliver high concentrations of chemotherapy specifically to tumour cells whilst minimising side effects and preventing tumour growth, said the study published in the journal Theranostics.

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“We have shown that we can image ‘activated platelets’ to detect tumours with clinically available imaging technologies such as ultrasound and PET/CT,” said Karlheinz Peter, Professor at the varsity. (IANS)

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Researchers Discover Balance of Two Enzymes That May Help Treat Pancreatic Cancer

While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A new research has set the stage for clinicians to potentially use levels of a pancreatic cancer patient’s PHLPP1 and PKC enzymes as a prognostic and for researchers to develop new therapeutic drugs that change the balance of the two enzymes as a means to treat the disease.

The study, published on Wednesday in Molecular Cell, was led by Alexandra Newton, professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and Timothy Baffi, a graduate student in her lab, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new study built on the team’s work in 2015 that found the enzyme PKC, which was believed in previous studies to promote tumour growth, actually suppressed it.

The latest study took the investigation a step further by uncovering how cells regulate PKC activity and discovered that any time an over-active PKC is inadvertently produced, the PHLPP1 “proofreader” tags it for destruction.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

“That means the amount of PHLPP1 in your cells determines your amount of PKC,” Newton said. “And it turns out those enzyme levels are especially important in pancreatic cancer.”

The team observed 105 pancreatic cancer tumours to analyze the enzyme levels in each one. About 50 per cent of patients with low PHLPP1/high PKC lived longer than five-and-a-half years.

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While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment.

Pancreatic cancer is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland in the digestive system. It typically doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages. Sufferers tend to develop signs, such as back pain and jaundice, when it has spread to other organs. (IANS)