Bone drug could have cancer-fighting ability

6 November 2014

New research has found that drugs commonly used to treat people with osteoporosis or late stages of bone cancer could also be used to tackle tumours in other parts of the body.

A number of clinical trials were conducted using bisphosphonates to treat women with breast cancer, as well as the standard treatment for the initial stages of the disease. They showed that the drugs have a 'survival advantage' and even inhibit cancer from spreading in some women, according to the team.

However, researchers were unable to explain why this occurred, but a new study has explained why this may occur.

A new study by Professor Mike Rogers, Dr Tri Phan and Dr Simon Junankar from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, used imaging techniques to better understand why bisphosphonates have this impact on cancer tumours. The team found that the drugs are able to attach to tiny calcifications in tumours in mice, which are then devoured by 'macrophages' - immune cells that the cancer manipulates to prevent the body from fighting it.

Published in the journal Cancer Discovery, the study analysed tissue samples from cancer patients, and considers the findings to be relevant to humans.

Posted by Phillip Briggs 

 

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