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US study uncovers powerful anti-cancer compound



A new study conducted on mice has uncovered a chemical compound that effectively targets cancer stem cells -- the key cells that spread malignant tumors and are usually resistant to treatment.

In a study published in Thursday's edition of the journal Cell, a group of medical researchers said they had discovered that a compound called salinomycin directly targeted cancer stem cells.

"Evidence is accumulating rapidly that cancer stem cells are responsible for the aggressive powers of many tumors," said Robert Weinberg, a member of the Whitehead Institute Founded in 1982, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research is a non-profit research and teaching institution located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Whitehead Institute was founded as a fiscally independent entity from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and its members  for Biomedical Research Biomedical research (or experimental medicine), in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research or applied research conducted to aid the body of knowledge in the field of medicine. , and one of the study's authors.

Cancer stem cells are rare but aggressive parts of tumors and their ability to seed new tumors while proving largely resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy makes them a key component in treating cancer patients.

"Many therapies kill the bulk of a tumor only to see it regrow Re`grow´   

v. i. & t. 1. To grow again.
The snail had power to regrow them all [horns, tongue, etc.]
- A. B. Buckley.

Verb 1.
," said Eric Lander Eric Steven Lander (b. February 3, 1957) is a Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a member of the Whitehead Institute, and director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard who has devoted his career toward realizing the promise of the human , director of the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at Cambridge; coeducational; chartered 1861, opened 1865 in Boston, moved 1916. It has long been recognized as an outstanding technological institute and its Sloan School of Management has notable programs in business,  and Harvard University Harvard University, mainly at Cambridge, Mass., including Harvard College, the oldest American college. Harvard College


Harvard College, originally for men, was founded in 1636 with a grant from the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
, another author of the Cell paper.

Previous attempts to study cancer stem cells have been stymied by difficulties in locating the rare cells within tumors, and the tendency of the cells to lose their key properties when grown outside of the body.

To conduct their research, the study group found a novel way to manipulate cultured breast cancer cells into cancer stem cells that retained the tendency to seed tumors and resist anti-cancer treatments.

The researchers then analyzed some 16,000 chemical compounds, looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 one that could target the cancer stem cells, eventually narrowing the field to 32, and then down to one: salinomycin.

The compound showed impressive results, both against naturally-occurring and manipulated cancer stem cells, reducing the proportion of breast cancer stem cells by more than 100-fold compared to a commonly-used breast cancer treatment This article or section recently underwent a major revision or rewrite and needs further review. You can help!

The mainstay of breast cancer treatment is surgery when the tumor is localized, with possible adjuvant hormonal therapy (with tamoxifen or an aromatase
 called paclitaxel paclitaxel /pac·li·tax·el/ (pak?li-tak´sel) an antineoplastic that promotes and stabilizes polymerization of microtubules, isolated from the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia); .

It also inhibited the ability of the cancer stem cells to seed new tumors when injected into mice, and slowed the growth of existing tumors in the animals.

"It wasn't clear it would be possible to find compounds that selectively kill cancer stem cells," said Piyush Gupta, one of the study's lead authors and a researcher at the Broad Institute. "We've shown it can be done."

The compound even targeted groups of genes, usually linked to particularly aggressive tumors and poor patient prognoses, that are highly active in cancer stem cells, effectively decreasing their activity, the study said.

"Our work reveals the biological effects of targeting cancer stem cells," said Gupta. "Moreover, it suggests a general approach to finding anti-cancer therapies that can be applied to any solid tumor maintained by cancer stem cells."

The researchers are not yet sure how salinomycin works, and there are a number of pharmaceutical steps that would need to be taken before it could be used to treat cancer patients.

However, the study's authors are positive both about the prospects for salinomycin and a number of the other chemical compounds tested, several of which also showed some ability to target cancer stem cells.
Copyright 2009 AFP American Edition
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright (c) Mochila, Inc.

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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Aug 13, 2009
Words:497
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