Combination cancer therapy shows promise

6 July 2012

A new type of cancer therapy that combines two treatments has shown promise in trials, experts have reported.

Specialists at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) demonstrated that the therapy for breast cancer cells in vitro could potentially be used to target different types of breast cancer, even tumours resistant to chemotherapy.

In a study published in the July issue of Anticancer Research, experts led by Dr Sibaji Sarkar, adjunct instructor of medicine at BUSM, tested a combination therapy of an epigenetic drug combined with a protease inhibitor on breast cancer cell lines that are hormone responsive, as well as those that are hormone unresponsive.

In this study, they found that the combination therapy both inhibited cell growth and increased cell death in both cancer cell lines by inducing cell cycle arrest and cell death.

The experts utilised histone deacetylases inhibitors (HDACi) and calpeptin, which inhibits calpain, a protein involved in the regulation of signaling proteins.

Calpain inhibition is also being studied as a potential treatment model for blood clots and other neurological diseases.

Dr Sarkar said the data demonstrates that HDACi’s play a major role in halting cell growth and promoting cell death.

"These results provide a model to investigate the re-expression of tumour suppressor genes, including imprinted genes, in many forms of breast cancer," he added.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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