Cancer treatment can inadvertently make the disease worse as dying cancer cells trigger inflammation. To combat this issue, University of California researchers have developed a drug that not only reduces inflammation but was also able to prevent cancer growth.
“To prevent tumor recurrence after therapy, it will be critical to neutralize the inherent tumor-promoting activity of therapy-generated debris”, revealed lead investigator Allison Gartung from Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Our results indicate that a dual COX-2/sEH inhibitor may offer a novel alternative to protect the body from a debris-mediated inflammatory response”.
In her study, Dr. Gartung presented the mechanisms through which ovarian cancer cells killed by chemotherapy actually induce surrounding immune cells (macrophages) to release a surge of factors that produce a favorable environment for tumors to survive and grow.
The compound, PTUPB, acts as a “surge protector” and represents a dual lipid pathway inhibitor. It combines to anti-inflammatory agents, a COX-2 inhibitor and a soluble epoxidehydrolase, or sEH, inhibitor into a single molecule. The goal is to reduce tumor angiogenesis and metastasis.
Earlier work showed the PTUPB could block breast and lung tumors in mice. At the moment, several clinical trials are evaluating its effectiveness against a series of other diseases.
“We are exploring all options to translate PTUPB to cancer patients especially in combination with current cancer therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy or surgery, which either directly or indirectly may generate tumor cell debris”, noted co-author Dipak Panigrahy, M.D. “Our next step is to investigate whether our findings are consistent with clinical studies involving human cancer”.
Ovarian cancer remains one of the most deadly forms of malignancy in the world. The American Cancer Society estimates an excess of 22,500 cases for 2019.
Innovations like these not only improve the chances of recovery but also offer improved quality of life for women battling one of the most terrifying diseases.
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