Sunday, January 17, 2010

DBZ an Alzheimer drug in clinical trails - a new hope for oesophageal cancer ?

Though there are some drugs for other cancers, but there is no good treatment, and sufferers for the cancer of  oesophagus  or gullet  and the patients  frequently face a short, painful battle which ends all too quickly in death. Many of the cancers diagnosed are in people with a long history of heartburn.

About Oesophagus cancer :

Chronic heartburn leads to the lower parts of the gullet being bathed in a toxic acid solution, and the lining of the gullet defends itself against this by changing itself into something which looks a lot like the lining of the lower intestines. Although the damaged tissue, called Barrett's oesophagus, is not cancerous in itself, its presence warns doctors that the patient has taken the first step towards cancer, and triggers a rigorous programme of monitoring, coupled with therapy to prevent further damage.

Patients with Barrett's oesophagus can be stabilised, and most do not go on to develop cancer, but once it is there, the mutated tissue is almost impossible to eradicate, so the risk always remains. Researchers have long been searching for new drugs able to revert Barrett's oesophagus to the healthy, normal lining of the gullet, and now, a team led by Hans Clevers of the Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, have come up with a drug DBZ (see structure : source : Paul J. Ciaccio)  a drug already in clinical trails for the Alzheimer's disease.

The interesting part of this research is the basis for testing the drug. Clevers' team, whose research into colon cancer is world-renowned, reasoned that as Barrett's oesophagus cells are very similar to the cells which line the colon, they might share vital control pathways.

Clevers and his team then put this together with the fact that  the anti-Alzheimer's drug DBZ, currently in clinical trials, is known to have side effects on the lower gut lining. Researchers used a rat model of oesophageal cancer to observe the effects of DBZ on Barrett's oesophagus tissue, and found that DBZ could halt the growth of Barrett's oesophagus, and in some cases completely destroyed the mutant tissue. Whilst the treatment is still a long way from being trialled in humans, it is an exciting step forward in the fight for a cure for oesophageal cancer.

New hope for therapy in heartburn-related cancer is presented in the Research Article entitled 'Conversion of metaplastic Barrett's epithelium into post-mitotic goblet cells by gamma-secretase inhibition',
Hans Clevers et. al., Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), Vol3, Issue 1/2,

I found an interesting article in the similar lines, those interested can read at the link...

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