Blood cancer therapy progresses to human trial stage

10 July 2012

A new type of therapy for blood cancer therapies has progressed to the human trial stage, after initial studies proved both successful and promising, experts have revealed.

Specialists at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, have discovered that certain cancer cells can be selectively killed by blocking the production of ribosomes, which play a key role in the growth and spread of cancer.

The drug, known as CX-5461, is given intravenously like chemotherapy and acts by targeting the nucleolus of the cell to interrupt ribosome production.

Grant McArthur, co-head of the Cancer Therapeutics Program at the facility, said the best thing about the therapy is that it is aggressive towards the cancer, but not towards the patient.

"What is really quite remarkable and was quite unexpected was that normal cells are not so dependent on this formation of the ribosomes. This is an exciting new concept to what is really a bit of a 'Holy Grail' in cancer treatments," he added.

Professor McArthur said there is currently a "big push" to come up with new treatments that will kill the cancer and leave the normal cells in the body relatively unaffected or only with minimal side-effects.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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