Friday, November 28, 2014

Bacterial protein flagellin can prevent and cure rotavirus infection

Activation of the innate immune system with the bacterial protein flagellin could prevent and cure rotavirus infection, which is among the most common causes of severe diarrhea, says a Georgia State University research team that described the method as a novel means to prevent and treat viral infection.

The team's findings are to be published in Science on Nov. 14.
Rotavirus is most problematic in infants and young children, who can become severely dehydrated and require hospitalization. Rotavirus causes about 500,000 deaths annually worldwide in children younger than five years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research, performed in mice, was led by Dr. Andrew Gewirtz and Dr. Benyue Zhang of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State, and included collaborators at Emory University School of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Genentech Inc. and the Pennsylvania State University.


The researchers expect the specific method used in their work, using flagellin or the IL-22 and IL-18 proteins it elicits, might be effective against a range of chronic viral infections of the digestive system such as norovirus and hepatitis C virus. The team is now planning studies in humans to test this hypothesis. The general model of activating innate immunity to combat viral infection should prove an effective means of slowing down most any virus and could be a temporary means to deal with a broad range of viral infections until more specific solutions could be developed, Gewirtz said.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Smart drug Modafinil can impair cognitive performance in healthy students

It is claimed one in five students have taken the 'smart' drug Modafinil to boost their ability to study and improve their chances of exam success. But new research into the effects of Modafinil has shown that healthy students could find their performance impaired by the drug. 

The study carried out by Dr Ahmed Dahir Mohamed, in the School of Psychology at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and published today, Wednesday 12 November 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE, showed the drug had negative effects in healthy people.

Dr Mohamed said: "We looked at how the drug acted when you are required to respond accurately and in a timely manner. Our findings were completely opposite to the results we expected."

In a randomised double blind study, 'Modafinil increases the latency of response in the Hayling Sentence Completion Test in Healthy Volunteers: A Randomised Controlled Trial', they administered 32 participants with the drug and 32 with a placebo. All the participants were given a famous neuropsychological task known as the Hayling Sentence Completion Test in which they were asked to respond both quickly and accurately. Dr Mohamed found the drug slowed down reaction times, impaired their ability to respond in a timely manner and failed to improve their performance of the task.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Breakthrough in flexible electronics enabled by inorganic-based laser lift-off

A research team led by Prof. Keon Jae Lee of KAIST provides an easier methodology  to  realize  high  performance flexible electronics by using the  Inorganic-based Laser  Lift-off  (ILLO),  which  enables    nanoscale processes  for   high   density   flexible   devices and    high temperature processes that were previously difficult to achieve on plastic substrates.

Chaetocin synergistic with TKIs against CML cells

Chaetocin (structure below), a mycotoxin that increases oxidative stress, can complement the activity of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) by overcoming innate resistance mediated by secreted bone marrow stromal cytokines and growth factors (BMSFs), researchers report.

The authors explain that CML–leukaemic stem cells (CML–LSCs), which exhibit innate resistance to TKIs, are crucial for the maintenance of CML. And add that BMSFs are implicated in this innate resistance, and are also known to increase the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

“Higher ROS levels in CML-LSCs exposed to BMSFs might render them susceptible to ROS-mediated damage by exogenous ROS-generating agents”, hypothesises the team inOncogenesis.

Chaetocin significantly reduced the viability and colony forming capacity of CML–LSK cells, and increased apoptosis. These effects of chaetocin were enhanced in the presence of BMSFs.
Moreover, treatment with both chaetocin and imatinib overcame BMSF-mediated imatinib resistance, and resulted in increased cytotoxicity and apoptosis induction as well as a complete loss of colony formation.

Although treatment with either chaetocin or BMSFs resulted in increased ROS levels in CML–LSKs, when the two were used in combination, ROS levels were significantly higher than when either was used alone. Interestingly, chaetocin-mediated cytotoxicty was inhibited when the cells were pretreated with an antioxidant, N-acetyl-cysteine.

This “strongly suggested” that chaetocin activity against CML–LSKs, and its potentiation by BMSFs, was mediated by the increased ROS, say the researchers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Isis Pharmaceuticals announces initiation of ISIS-SMN Rx Phase 3 study in children with SMA

Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISIS) announced  the initiation of a pivotal Phase 3 study evaluating ISIS-SMNRx in approximately 120 non-ambulatory children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA is a severe and rare genetic neuromuscular disease characterized by muscle atrophy and weakness. The Phase 3 study, CHERISH, is the second Phase 3 study Isis has initiated in a global late-stage clinical development program for ISIS-SMNRx. Isis earned a $27 million milestone payment from its development partner, Biogen Idec, for the dosing of the first patient in this study. Isis is also evaluating ISIS-SMNRx in the Phase 3 study, ENDEAR, in infants with SMA. Isis is conducting both Phase 3 studies with agreement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for special protocol assessments, or SPAs.

University of Leeds researchers make new synthetic anti-cancer molecule

Researchers at the University of Leeds have made a new synthetic anti-cancer molecule that targets two key mechanisms in the spread of malignant tumours through the body. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE today reports that the synthetic molecule JK-31 blocks the signalling of a "growth factor" chemical that promotes the creation of networks of blood vessels to feed tumours.

But the researchers also found that the new molecule intervened directly in the growth of the cancer itself, inhibiting a protein that controls the division and proliferation of malignant cells.
Dr Vas Ponnambalam, Reader in Human Disease Biology in the University of Leeds' Faculty of Biological Sciences, said: "The ability to mount this two-pronged attack on cancerous growths is exciting. There is a great need for better drugs against cancer than what we currently have and JK31 may represent an important addition to the toolkit for drug makers developing the next generation of drugs."

The researchers observed the effect of the synthetically produced molecule, JK-31, on the growth and proliferation of a model human breast cancer cell line and found that it effectively blocked the protein cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1), which plays a key part in the process of the division of cancer cells, and therefore inhibited the proliferation of the cells.

In a separate laboratory experiment, they found the same JK-31 molecule also blocked a specific growth factor (VEGF-A) produced by the cancer to attract the growth of blood vessels.

Other molecules exhibiting similar dual effects are known but JK-31 is the only compound so far shown to successfully target CDK1 and block VEGF-A.

Monday, November 24, 2014

New drug combination shows promise as effective, safe treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

A new drug combination for rheumatoid arthritis treats the disease just as well as other intensive treatment strategies but with less medication and fewer side effects at a significantly lower cost. Doctoral researcher Diederik De Cock (KU Leuven) describes the strategy in a new study published in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic auto-immune disease that causes pain and stiffness in the joints, fatigue, bone damage and, eventually, loss of mobility. RA afflicts around 1% of people in the western world; in Belgium, 80,000 to 100,000 people currently live with the disease.

Because there is no known cure for RA, physicians focus treatment on suppressing disease activity. Therapies have improved in recent years, and clinical studies show that intensive treatment of early RA can prevent joint damage and improve patients' quality of life.

In the two-year study, called 'CareRA' (Care in early RA), researchers and clinicians in the rheumatology unit at University Hospitals Leuven examined various therapies for early RA. Their goal: to find the optimal combination and dosage of three commonly prescribed antirheumatic drugs (methotrexate, sulfasalazine and leflunomide) in combination with glucocorticoids (a class of steroid hormones).

The researchers divided 290 early RA patients into three treatment groups. Each group received a different combination therapy: 'COBRA Classic' (methotrexate, sulfasalazine and a high first dose of glucocorticoids), 'COBRA Slim' (methotrexate and a moderate dose of glucocorticoids) or 'COBRA Avant-Garde' (methotrexate, leflunomide and a moderate dose of glucocorticoids).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sulindac drug can protect against oxidative damage due to AMD

In continuation of my update on Sulindac

Scientists at Florida Atlantic University's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, as well as the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, have found that sulindac, a known anti-inflammatory drug, can protect against oxidative damage due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the primary causes of vision loss in the elderly. Their findings were released today in an article titled "Pharmacological protection of retinal pigmented epithelial cells by sulindac involves PPAR-α" in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

FDA Approves Olysio (simeprevir) in Combination with Sofosbuvir for Genotype 1 Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

In continuation of my update on sofosbuvir

Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP (Janssen) announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Olysio (simeprevir), a hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A protease inhibitor, in combination withsofosbuvir as an all-oral, interferon- and ribavirin-free treatment option for genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection in adult patients as part of a combination antiviral treatment regimen. Sofosbuvir is an HCV nucleotide analog NS5B polymerase inhibitor developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New treatment regimen for hepatitis C in transplant patients produces promising results

The investigational three-drug regimen, which produced hepatitis C cure rates of 97 percent, is an oral interferon-free therapy. Previously, the typical treatment for hepatitis C after a liver transplant was an interferon-based therapy, usually given for 48 weeks. It had a much lower response rate, had a risk of organ rejection and was poorly tolerated because of the immunosuppressants required to prevent rejection. The new oral regimen -- ABT-450, ombitasvir and dasabuvir (with or without ribavirin) -- produces significantly fewer side effects and is prescribed for 24 weeks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Study reports anti-cancer activity in mice treated with experimental drug TAK-733

Study reports anti-cancer activity in mice treated with experimental drug TAK-733

TAK-733 is a potent and selective MEK allosteric site inhibitor for MEK1 with IC50 of 3.2 nM, inactive to Abl1, AKT3, c-RAF, CamK1, CDK2, c-Met, etc.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Eribulin drug has minor added benefit in one patient group, indication of lesser benefit in others

In continuation of my update on Eribulin

Eribulin (trade name: Halaven) is approved for women with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer in whom the disease has progressed despite prior drug therapy. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) examined in a dossier assessment whether the drug offers an added benefit over the appropriate comparator therapy in these patient groups.

According to the findings, there are both positive and negative effects. There is proof of minor added benefit for one group of patients. For other groups, there are hints or indications of lesser benefit.

Second assessment of eribulin
IQWiG already presented a dossier assessment of eribulin in February 2012. The subsequent decision on the added benefit made by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) was limited until April 2014. In addition, the drug manufacturer meanwhile obtained approval for an expanded therapeutic indication: In March 2011 eribulin was only available for patients who have progressed further after at least two chemotherapeutic regimens. Since June 2014, however, the drug can already be used after one unsuccessful treatment attempt. Hence there were two reasons ─ independent from each other ─ for the reassessment of eribulin.

G-BA specified appropriate comparator therapies
When the G-BA specified the appropriate comparator therapy, it distinguished between several treatment situations: The first one refers to patients who are not eligible for further chemotherapy with a taxane or an anthracycline. In this situation, eribulin was to be compared with individual chemotherapy containing the drugs capecitabine or vinorelbine.
In patients for whom taxanes or anthracyclines are principally still an option, eribulin was to be compared with an individual chemotherapy containing a taxane or an anthracycline.

Monday, November 17, 2014

FDA Approves Dual-Chamber Syringe for Abilify Maintena (aripiprazole) for Schizophrenia

In continuation of my update on aripiprazole


We know that, Aripiprazole (brand names: Abilify, Aripiprex) is a atypical antipsychotic. It is primarily used in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder (as an add on to other treatment),tic disorders, and irritability associated with autism. 
It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for schizophrenia on November 15, 2002 and the European Medicines Agency on 4 June 2004; for acute manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder on October 1, 2004; as an adjunct for major depressive disorder on November 20, 2007; and to treat irritability in children with autism on 20 November 2009.  Likewise it was approved for use as a treatment for schizophrenia by the TGA of Australia in May 2003.  It is a partial dopamine agonist
Aripiprazole was developed by Otsuka in Japan, and in the United States, Otsuka America markets it jointly with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Friday, November 14, 2014

FDA Approves Ofev (nintedanib) for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

In continuation of update on nintedanib

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Ofev (nintedanib) for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the lungs become progressively scarred over time. As a result, patients with IPF experience shortness of breath, cough, and have difficulty participating in everyday physical activities. Current treatments for IPF include oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and lung transplant.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

FDA Approves Revised Indication for Ozurdex for the Treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema

In continuation of my update on dexamethasone

Dexamethasone structure.svg

Allergan, Inc., announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ozurdex (dexamethasone intravitreal implant) 0.7 mg, a sustained-release biodegradable steroid implant, for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). Ozurdex was originally approved in June as a treatment for DME in adult patients who have an artificial lens implant (pseudophakic) or who are scheduled for cataract surgery (phakic). Based on ongoing review of clinical data demonstrating efficacy and safety, the FDA has now approved Ozurdex for use in the general DME patient population.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

FDA Approves Esbriet (pirfenidone) for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis


Pirfenidone is a drug developed by several companies worldwide, including InterMune Inc. (now part of Roche), Shionogi Ltd., and GNI Group Ltd., for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). In 2008, it was first approved in Japan for the treatment of IPF after clinical trials, under the trade name of Pirespa by Shionogi & Co. In October 2010, the Indian Company Cipla launched it as Pirfenex. In 2011, it was approved for use in Europe for IPF under the trade name Esbriet.  was approved in Canada in 2012 under the trade name Esbriet; and was approved in the United States in October 2014 under the same name. In September 2011, the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration provided GNI Group Ltd with new drug approval of pirfenidone in China,[3] and later manufacture approval in 2013 under the trade name of Etuary. 

In continuation of my update on pirfenidone

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

FDA Approves Ofev (nintedanib) for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

In continuation of update on nintedanib


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Ofev (nintedanib) for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the lungs become progressively scarred over time. As a result, patients with IPF experience shortness of breath, cough, and have difficulty participating in everyday physical activities. Current treatments for IPF include oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and lung transplant.

Monday, November 10, 2014

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Sientists at Washington State University have concluded that non digestible compounds in apples -- specifically, Granny Smith apples  may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest, appears in October's print edition of the journal Food Chemistry.
"We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties," said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study's lead researcher. "Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity."
The tart green Granny Smith apples benefit the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon due to their high content of non-digestible compounds, including dietary fiber and polyphenols, and low content of available carbohydrates. Despite being subjected to chewing, stomach acid and digestive enzymes, these compounds remain intact when they reach the colon. Once there, they are fermented by bacteria in the colon, which benefits the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut.
The study showed that Granny Smith apples surpass Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Red Delicious in the amount of nondigestible compounds they contain.
"The nondigestible compounds in the Granny Smith apples actually changed the proportions of fecal bacteria from obese mice to be similar to that of lean mice," Noratto said.

Researchers identify compounds that could lead to discovery of new drugs for African sleeping sickness

In early drug discovery, you need a starting point, says North­eastern Uni­ver­sity asso­ciate pro­fessor of chem­istry and chemical biology Michael Pollastri.

In a new research paper published Thursday in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Pollastri and his colleagues present hun­dreds of such starting points for poten­tially treating African sleeping sick­ness, a deadly disease that claims thousands of lives annually.

Pol­lastri, who runs Northeastern's Lab­o­ra­tory for Neglected Dis­ease Drug Dis­covery, and co- collaborators at the Spanish National Research Council for Scientific Research worked with global health­care com­pany GlaxoSmithKline to screen and test more than 42,000 chem­ical com­pounds against the par­a­sites that cause African sleeping sickness. In their paper, they report iden­ti­fying nearly 800 com­pounds that rep­re­sent good options for early drug discovery.

"Having this many good starting points for discovery of new drugs for sleeping sick­ness is a big deal and could ultimately lead to a cure," Pol­lastri said.

Pol­lastri also high­lighted another exciting component to this project. Previously, he created a data- sharing portal where sci­en­tists and researchers can access and con­tribute to each other's work on neglected tropical diseases. This new research on African sleeping sickness will be the first data to be deposited on the portal, which was sup­ported by a crowd­funding campaign.

"This is a venue where other people, particularly medical chemists from around the world, can con­tribute to the project in one way or the other," Pollastri said.

Friday, November 7, 2014

MIT researchers develop new way to model effects of cancer-causing genetic mutations

Sequencing the genomes of tumor cells has revealed thousands of genetic mutations linked with cancer. However, sifting through this deluge of information to figure out which of these mutations actually drive cancer growth has proven to be a tedious, time-consuming process.

MIT researchers have now developed a new way to model the effects of these genetic mutations in mice. Their approach, based on the genome-editing technique known as CRISPR, is much faster than existing strategies, which require genetically engineering mice that carry the cancerous mutations.

"It's a very rapid and very adaptable approach to make models," says Thales Papagiannakopoulos, a postdoc at MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and one of the lead authors of the paper, which appears in the Oct. 22 online edition ofNature. "With a lot of these mutations, we have no idea what their role is in tumor progression. If we can actually understand the biology, we can then go in and try targeted therapeutic approaches."

Led by Papagiannakopoulos, graduate student Francisco Sanchez-Rivera, the paper's other lead author, and Koch Institute director Tyler Jacks, the paper's senior author, the team used CRISPR to accurately reproduce the effects of two well-known lung cancer genes. They also modeled a gene called APC, whose role in lung cancer was not previously known.

This approach could be used to study nearly any gene in many different types of cancer, the researchers say. "There has to be a functional way of assessing the role of these cancer-gene candidates as they appear in sequencing studies," Sanchez-Rivera says. "The system we developed fills that gap immediately because you can do it very rapidly and very precisely."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Scientists develop new drug as alternative to antibiotics

In a breakthrough, scientists have developed the first effective alternative to antibiotics that may aid the fight against drug-resistant infections. 

In a small patient trial, the drug was shown to be effective at eradicating the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). 

Researchers said it is unlikely that the infection could develop resistance against the new treatment, which is already available as a cream for skin infections. 

They hope to develop a pill or an injectable version of the drug within five years. 

The treatment marks "a new era in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria," according to Mark Offerhaus, chief executive of the biotechnology company Micreos, which is behind the advance. 

The treatment attacks infections in an entirely different way from conventional drugs and, unlike them, exclusively targets the Staphylococcus bacteria responsible for MRSA, and leaves other microbes unaffected. 

The approach is inspired by naturally occurring viruses that attack bacteria using enzymes called endolysins. It uses a 'designer' endolysin, Staphefekt, which the scientists engineered to latch on to the surface of bacteria cells and tear them apart, 'The Times' reported. 

"Endolysins exist in nature, but we've made a modified version that combines the bit that is best at binding to the bacteria with another bit that is best at killing it," said Bjorn Herpers, a clinical microbiologist, who tested the drug at the Public Health Laboratory in Kennemerland, the Netherlands. 

Conventional antibiotics need to reach the inside of the cell to work, and part of the reason they are becoming less effective is that certain strains of bacteria, such as MRSA, have evolved impenetrable membranes. 

Analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs have beneficial effect on treatment of depression

Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs used against muscle pain and arthritis may have a beneficial effect on depression symptoms....

Ordinary over the counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs purchased from pharmacies may also be effective in the treatment of people suffering of depression.

This is shown by the largest ever meta-analysis that has just been published by a research group from Aarhus University in the American scientific journal JAMA Psychiatry. The meta-analysis is based on 14 international studies with a total 6,262 patients who either suffered from depression or had individual symptoms of depression.

Up to 15 per cent of the Danish population can expect to suffer from depression at some point in their lives. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that depression is one of the top five reasons for loss of quality of life and also life years. Thus, it is a very serious condition, one where researchers all over the world are constantly trying to find more effective treatments.
In recent years research has demonstrated a correlation between depression and physical illnesses, such as painful conditions or infections in the individual patient.

"The meta-analysis supports this correlation and also demonstrates that anti-inflammatory medication in combination with antidepressants can have an effect on the treatment of depression. When combined they give an important result which, in the long term, strengthens the possibility of being able to provide the individual patient with more personalized treatment options," says MD-student Ole Köhler, who is first author of the scientific article and a member of the research group from Aarhus University.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Walnuts may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, study finds

Animal study reveals potential brain-health benefits of a walnut-enriched diet. A new animal study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease indicates that a diet including walnuts may have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk, delaying the onset, slowing the progression of, or preventing Alzheimer's disease.

Research led by Abha Chauhan, PhD, head of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR), found significant improvement in learning skills, memory, reducing anxiety, and motor development in mice fed a walnut-enriched diet.

The researchers suggest that the high antioxidant content of walnuts (3.7 mmol/ounce) may have been a contributing factor in protecting the mouse brain from the degeneration typically seen in Alzheimer's disease. Oxidative stress and inflammation are prominent features in this disease, which affects more than five million Americans.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nanoparticle-based invention moves new drugs closer to clinical testing

Penn State College of Medicine researchers have developed a nanoparticle to deliver a melanoma-fighting drug directly to the cancer.
Delivering cancer drugs directly to tumors is difficult. Scientists are working on new approaches to overcome the natural limitations of drugs, including loading them into nanoparticles.
"The drug is packaged into a lipid ball significantly smaller than the width of a hair to make it soluble in the blood stream and prevent negative side effects. The drug-containing nanoparticle ball then travels in the bloodstream to the tumor, where it accumulates and the drug is released in the tumor to kill the cancer cells," said Gavin Robertson, professor of pharmacology, pathology, dermatology, and surgery and director of the Penn State Hershey Melanoma Center.
In previous research, Robertson discovered the cancer-fighting characteristics of leelamine, a substance derived from pine bark. But leelamine cannot be given by mouth because of poor uptake in the gastrointestinal tract or be injected intravenously because it causes damage to red blood cells.
To address this issue, Robertson and his team developed a new nanoliposome that loads leelamine, called Nanolipolee-007. Nanolipolee-007 can be injected intravenously without causing damage to red blood cells. It then accumulates in tumors because of its small size where it releases the drug to kill the cancer cells.
Leelamine is the first of a new unique class of drugs that inhibits cholesterol movement around a cancer cell to shut down signals needed for cancer cell survival. As a result, protein pathways like the PI3K, MAPK and STAT3 that are highly active and help cancer cells multiply and spread, are turned off and the cancer cells die. Since normal cells are not addicted to the high levels of activity of these pathways that occur in cancer cells, the drug has a minor effect on them.
"This nanoparticle moves leelamine one step closer to the clinic," Robertson said. "We now have a drug that has the potential to be given to humans that could not be done before."
The researchers showed the results of Nanolipolee-007 on cells growing in culture dishes and in tumors growing in mice following intravenous injection. Leelamine inhibited tumor development in mice with no detectable side effects.