• Uses HER2 as a target to selectively deliver toxins to cancer cells.
• Designed to overcome issues of resistance with Herceptin.
PHILADELPHIA — Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer may have an alternative therapy when they develop resistance to trastuzumab, also known as Herceptin, according to a laboratory finding published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Jacek Capala, Ph.D., D.Sc., an investigator at the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues designed, produced and tested HER2-Affitoxin, a novel protein that combines HER2-specific affibody molecules and a modified bacterial toxin, PE38.
“Unlike the current HER2-targeted therapeutics, such as Herceptin, this protein does not interfere with the HER2 signaling pathway but, instead, uses HER2 as a target to deliver a modified form of bacterial toxin specifically to the HER2-positive cancer cells. When cells absorb the toxin, it interferes with protein production and, thereby, kills them,” said Capala.
At least, that is what happened in Capala’s laboratory. After Affitoxin was injected into tumor-bearing mice, even relatively large, aggressive tumors stopped growing and most of them disappeared. The effect was strong enough that Capala believes it warrants a clinical trial.
“Herceptin has revolutionized the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, but a significant number of tumors acquire resistance to the drug,” said Capala. “Affitoxin could offer another therapeutic option for those patients whose tumors no longer respond to Herceptin.”
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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.
Vitamin D has been news recently that more studies on the metabolic effects of vitamin and why we need it. A new study has added evidence of the need for vitamin D. In a study recently published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, scientists report that breast cancer patients with low vitamin D levels have more aggressive tumors and a higher risk of recurrence.
This is not a surprising result for many doctors working with cancer patients as a link between vitamin D and cancer in general is a fact. There is also a growing understanding that the current intake recommendations are too low.
“Many oncologists have already opted for vitamin D in breast cancer and to recommend supplementation of low-level,” said Dr. Laurie Kirstein, a breast surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. “To link vitamin D to the aggressiveness of a particular type of breast cancer is an interesting discovery.” Dr Kirstein said that this documentation should be followed by a controlled trial.
The current study extends the general knowledge of vitamin D and cancer, with the link in the context of a particular type of cancer and a particular activity. The study, which examined 155 women at the University of Rochester, also found a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and every important biological marker used to indicate the prognosis.
“The magnitude of the results was quite surprising,” said Luke J. Peppone, the principal investigator and research assistant professor of radiation oncology. “Based on these results, physicians should strongly consider monitoring vitamin D breast cancer patients and correct if necessary.”
Although this study has yet to follow up with more controlled studies, it also reinforces the belief in the importance of vitamin D, or the original publication, it is, the information provided here adds “support previous research that are found reduced survival of breast cancer in individuals vitamin D deficiency. “ tocancer.com
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