USC re­search IDS po­ten­tial treat­ment for deadly, Hiv-re­lated blood can­cer

Wellness Update - - Contents -

Re­searchers at the USC Nor­ris Com­pre­hen­sive Can­cer Center have dis­cov­ered a promis­ing new way to treat a rare and ag­gres­sive blood can­cer most com­monly found in peo­ple in­fected with HIV. The USC team shows that a class of drugs called BET bro­mod­omain in­hibitors ef­fec­tively tar­gets pri­mary ef­fu­sion lym­phoma (PEL), a type of can­cer for which those drugs were not ex­pected to be ef­fec­tive. “It’s a re­ver­sal of the par­a­digm,” said Preet Chaud­hary, MD, PhD, chief of the Nohl Di­vi­sion of Hema­tol­ogy and Blood Dis­eases at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor of the study. “Our re­sults sug­gest that this new class of drug may be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for a wider range of can­cers than pre­vi­ously thought.” PEL is caused by in­fec­tion with Ka­posi’s sar­co­maas­so­ci­ated her­pes virus, the most com­mon cause of can­cer among pa­tients with AIDS. The prog­no­sis for PEL is poor, with a me­dian sur­vival of three to six months. Thus, there is a crit­i­cal need for new ther­a­pies for the disease. Chaud­hary and his col­leagues show that in­hibitors tar­get­ing the BRD4 pro­tein blocked growth of PEL cells in a test tube and in a mouse model. The re­sults were sur­pris­ing be­cause BET in­hibitors were thought to be only ef­fec­tive against can­cers linked to an over­ex­pres­sion of the Myc gene.

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