Cancer-fight­ing flu drug

> Re­sults raise hopes of a cure for a dis­ease that killed more than 5,000 peo­ple in the UK in 2014

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ZEST -

ADRUG to treat the com­mon cold could be used to stop the spread of blad­der cancer, a study has found. Re­searchers in Ja­pan found that a non­s­teroid an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory drug su­pressed the spread of the cancer in mice and also re­duced its re­sis­tance to chemo­ther­apy.

The re­sults raise hopes of a cure for a dis­ease that killed more than 5,000 peo­ple in the UK alone in 2014.

Blad­der cancer can be split into two types – non-mus­cle in­va­sive can­cers, which have a 90%, five-year sur­vival rate; and mus­cle in­va­sive can­cers, which at stage 4 have a 10%, five-year sur­vival rate.

The lat­ter types are usu­ally treated with com­mon cancer drugs like cis­platin, but the dis­ease tends to be­come re­sis­tant over time and spread to other or­gans.

Re­searchers at Ja­pan’s Hokkaido Univer­sity in­oc­u­lated hu­man blad­der cancer cells la­belled with lu­ciferase into mice, cre­at­ing a xenograft blad­der cancer model.

These cancer cells were la­belled with an enzyme that gives off light, al­low­ing sci­en­tists to track the cells’ re­sponse to treat­ment.

The pri­mary blad­der xenograft grad­u­ally grew and, af­ter 45 days, metastatic tu­mours were de­tected in the lungs, liver and bone.

By us­ing a mi­croar­ray anal­y­sis, in­clud­ing more than 20,000 genes for the metastatic tu­mours, the team dis­cov­ered a three- to 25-fold in­crease of the meta­bolic enzyme aldo-keto re­duc­tase 1C1 (AKR1C1) which me­di­ates the re­sis­tance of metastatic blad­der cancer cells.

They also found high lev­els of AKR1C1 in metastatic tu­mours re­moved from 25 cancer pa­tients, prov­ing that the phe­nom­ena dis­cov­ered in the mice also oc­cur in the hu­man body.

Along with anti-cancer drugs, an in­flam­ma­tory sub­stance pro­duced around the tu­mour, such as in­ter­leukin-1 beta, in­creased the enzyme lev­els.

The re­searchers also iden­ti­fied, for the first time, that AKR1C1 en­hances tu­mour-pro­mot­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and proved that the enzyme blocks the ef­fec­tive­ness of cis­platin and other an­ti­cancer drugs.

They dis­cov­ered that in­oc­u­lat­ing flufe­namic acid, an in­hibitory fac­tor for AKR1C1, into can­cer­ous blad­der cells sup­pressed the cell’s in­va­sive ac­tiv­i­ties and re­stored the ef­fec­tive­ness of anti-cancer drugs.

Flufe­namic acid is also known as a non-steroid an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory drug used for treat­ing com­mon colds.

The team’s dis­cov­ery is ex­pected to spur clin­i­cal tests aimed at im­prov­ing prog­noses for blad­der cancer pa­tients.

In the lat­est cancer treat­ments, ex­pen­sive molec­u­lar-tar­geted drugs are used, putting a large strain on both the med­i­cal econ­omy and the state cof­fers.

“This lat­est re­search could pave the way for med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions to use flufe­namic acid – a much cheaper cold drug – which has un­ex­pect­edly been proven to be ef­fec­tive at fight­ing can­cers,” said Dr Shinya Tanaka.

Blad­der cancer is the sev­enth most com­mon cancer in males, with around 165,100 deaths from the dis­ease world­wide in 2012. – The In­de­pen­dent

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